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TMC reaches NAIA semis

The Master’s College men’s soccer team is in the national semifinals for the first time in school

Posted: December 2, 2009 10:18 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2009 4:30 a.m.

The Master’s College men’s soccer team continues to break new ground for the program.

And as per usual with the Mustangs this year, their defense was the shovel.
With a 3-1 win over Notre Dame College of Ohio on Wednesday in Fresno, TMC has made its first-ever semifinal in the NAIA national tournament.

TMC head coach Jim Rickard said the Mustangs’ defense continued to lead the charge, as TMC stifled a Notre Dame team averaging nearly four goals a contest coming into the matchup.

“We just came out and tried to work really hard and pressure them,” Rickard said. “They had the second-leading goal scorer in the country (Luke Holmes) and he was held to no shots on goal. ... We just wanted to sew up the defense first and take our chances when we got them.”

The score was knotted 0-0 at the half as TMC (19-2-2) took eight shots but was unable to capitalize on any of its opportunities.

The chances would come in the second half. And of course, it came from the defense.

Defender Brian Gardner assisted defender Tyler Salvey on the Mustangs’ first goal in the 56th minute, but the Falcons (16-4-2) would answer right back.

In the 61st minute, Notre Dame’s Jonathan Morris found Jacob Sheppard with a cross for his team’s lone goal to tie the score at 1-1.

But once again, Marcelo Silva came to the rescue for TMC.

Taking what Rickard described as “a perfect ball,” Guilherm Mitrovich found a streaking Silva in the 76th minute with a powerful lob, giving the striker an opportunity for his fifth game-winning goal of the season.

Silva delivered again and the score was 2-1 TMC.

Silva caught the defense pressing up too far in the game’s waning minutes and managed a second goal to bring about the final score.

Mustangs goalkeeper Kevin Lawson, who has been a defensive stalwart all season for TMC, was only tested three times and ended up with two saves.

Reflecting on the team’s unprecedented success, Rickard said the team’s biggest asset is not any one goal-scoring superstar or shut-down defender, but a solid group that works to win.

“It is a very talented group, but if somebody were to scout my team, there’s no superstar — everybody is solid,” Rickard said. “It doesn’t mean they’re not very talented, but (the scout) wouldn’t be able to say you can just shut down so-and-so.”

The Master’s College will enter final-four play against Rio Grande of Ohio on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Fresno.



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