The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s soccer team fought hard weather conditions and a tough Emory University men’s soccer team Friday night in Chicago, falling 2-1 to the Eagles. The loss ends the Cru’s run in the NCAA tournament and concludes their historic 2017 season.
After a 90-minute delay, UMHB and Emory University finally kicked off sectional play around 9 p.m. Friday night. Emory’s Michael Carragher scored an unassisted goal at 17:48 in the first half then assisted another at 17:55 for a 2-0 Emory lead. The Eagles held that lead throughout the first and majority of the second half until Logan Keeler found the net off an assist from Case Carnes to cut the lead to one. UMHB put up a hard offensive fight in the final minutes of action, but was unable to score again, falling 2-1 to Emory.
Keeler and Martin Lopez led the Cru with two shots each while Keeler had a team-high two shots on goal. Emory outshot the Cru 14-7 in the match, putting five shots on goal. Bryce Eichhorn took the loss for the Cru, allowing two goals with three saves while Cole Gallagher was the winner for Emory, allowing one goal with two saves.
The UMHB men started their 2017 season with a week-long mission trip to Bermuda. They participated in various service projects, played against local teams and talked about finding their summit and exploring new heights in their upcoming season. After a 1-2 preseason record and 2-0 loss to Trinity University, UMHB went on win a 12-game win streak, setting a new American Southwest Conference record for consecutive wins in a season. That streak included a 2-1 overtime win against Ozarks where Martin Lopez scored the game-winner, a 2-0 win over regionally-ranked UT Tyler and a 2-1 overtime edge over UT Dallas where Caleb Vandergriff headed in the golden goal. After a late-season loss to McMurry on the road, the Cru beat Hardin-Simmons to secure a 10-1 conference record, regular-season championship and right to host the ASC Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament.
UMHB enjoyed a first-round bye in the ASC Championship Tournament before beating Ozarks 4-0 to earn a spot in the conference final. Case Carnes scored the game-winner there, knocking in the conference-winning goal over UT Tyler for the program’s first ASC Men’s Soccer Championship. In just their second NCAA appearance in program history, UMHB beat Willamette 1-0 for the program’s first NCAA win and capped that with a 3-2 win over Trinity to qualify for the Sweet 16. 2017 was just the second time UMHB has won the regular-season ASC title, second season they have qualified for NCAA postseason play and second season to be ranked in a top 25 poll. The Cru set new program records for wins in a season (17) and win percentage (.809) and is the only ASC men’s soccer program to ever compete in the third round. Carnes also set new program records in career game-winning goals (12), season game-winning goals (seven), and season points (61).
UMHB ends their historic 2017 season at 17-3-1. Emory will advance to face sectional-host University of Chicago on Saturday, November 18th at 7 p.m.