Big Win Today – Bigger Game Tomorrow for Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team and coach Brian McMahon continue their successful run to defend our national championship of last year.

Today they beat Mid-America Nazarene 2-1, and advanced the quarter finals tomorrow.

Tomorrow at 1:30, we play Martin Methodist, who beat us twice during the regular season, and in the second round of this tournament, Martin Methodist beat the #1 ranked team by a score of 5-0.

The game tomorrow begins at 1:30 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Below is the full story on today’s game.

Go Blazers!

The Belhaven men’s soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2013 NAIA National Championship thanks to a 2-1 decision against ninth seeded MidAmerica Nazarene University Tuesday afternoon at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex. The eighth seeded Blazers scored two early first half goals against one of the toughest defenses in the country and with some outstanding defense of their own held back the Pioneers offense for the victory.

“I give all the credit to our defense and how we played today,” said Belhaven Head Coach Brian McMahon. “We have great respect for MidAmerica Nazarene; they made it to the semifinals last year and played us very tough today. I was very proud of the guys and thought we defended well as a group. We had a game plan and stuck to it and it certainly helped scoring a couple early goals. We were then able to survive the rest of the match.”

The first of Belhaven’s (16-6-1) two goals came off the foot of sophomore Tom Gavin who executed a perfect free kick in the ninth minute. Lippi Souza committed a foul 28 yards from his own goal putting Gavin within striking distance of the net. Gavin struck the shot from the right side of the field, bouncing it off the inside portion of the right post into the back of the net for his third goal of 2013.

The Blazers extended their lead to 2-0 in the 19th minute on a play that was initiated by a Pioneer offside infraction. Belhaven goalie Carl Blundell played the free ball outside the box up the left side of the field finding the foot of senior Will Monsour. Monsour maneuvered into position for a shot and made it count, placing the ball past goalie Chris Eriksson. It was Monsour’s eighth goal of the season and the first assist for Blundell.

MidAmerica Nazarene (14-4-3) did not go quietly and began to ratchet up the pressure on offense. The Pioneers finally broke through for what would be their only goal of the match in the 39th minute. Taylor Esparza did the honors to bring MidAmerica back within one at 2-1. However, Belhaven’s defense would hold strong the rest of the match sending the team back to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

Blundell, who had a hand in one of the two Blazer goals, prevented three other potential scores by the Pioneers thanks to three saves in the contest. Blundell earned the victory in net and now has 15 wins to his credit this season. Gavin and Monsour led the Belhaven offense with two shots and one goal apiece. As a team, Belhaven outshot MidAmerica Nazarene 9-5 and owned the advantage in corner kicks 6-2.

Eriksson made four saves in 90 minutes for the Pioneers with Esparza notching their only goal. Eddie Morales ended up being the leading shot taker for MidAmerica Nazarene with two.

Belhaven will now face Martin Methodist College Wednesday afternoon in the quarterfinals. This will be the third match of the season between the two teams with the Redhawks topping the Blazers each time by finals of 1-0 in double overtime.

“Martin Methodist defeated the number one team in the country Monday 5-0 and defeated us twice this year so this is going to be a tough challenge for us,” added McMahon. “We are going to go out and play our best and see what happens tomorrow.”

Wednesday’s kickoff is slated for 1:30 PM.

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