Men’s soccer picks up their sixth consecutive shutout heading into playoffs
TNE Editor
/ Categories: RiverHawk Athletics, Soccer

Men’s soccer picks up their sixth consecutive shutout heading into playoffs


Dustin Teenor

TNE writer

The men’s soccer team finished up their season with two MIAA matchups last weekend and came away with well-earned shutouts heading into the playoffs on Nov. 15.

“Getting the shutouts really put us in a good mindset going into the tournament,” said Aaron Ugbah, junior forward. “it shows what we are capable of.”

Last Friday, the team matched up at home against upper Iowa for senior night. Trevor Reed, senior midfielder started senior night on the right track, scoring the first goal for the game to put the RiverHawks up 1-0 after 17 minutes of play. The goal came off an assist from Ben Watson, junior defender, making that his 11th assist of the season. Before half Blake Dumond, freshmen forward, bared a goal in the back of the net putting the RiverHawks up 2-0 in the 32nd minute of the game. This goal gives Dumond his fifth goal of the season, which have all came in the last four games of the season.

“It’s always good getting production out of your younger players, especially later in the season,” said Watson. “They are starting to mature and become more confident adapting to the college soccer style of play. All of these young players are doing a great job and are exceeding expectations for freshman.”

The RiverHawks and the Peacocks had a scoreless second half, ending the game at 2-0. Thomas Salenbien, junior goal keeper, contributed to the team in big ways, recording six saves in the win against the Peacocks, making his record between the posts improve to 8-1-1.

Sunday, the RiverHawks faced the Lindenwood Lions for their last game of the regular season. The two teams did not seem to be very offensively driven in the matchup with the only goal of the first half coming off a penalty kick from NSU’s Doyle James, sophomore defender, after 23 minutes of soccer. The trend seemed to hold true in the second half, where both teams could not seem to hit the back of the net for the rest of regulation. The RiverHawks ended up getting the 1-0 shutout, making that their fifth consecutive shutout.

“It’s always important getting shutout wins, but five in a row is something to ride off of heading into postseason,” said Watson. “It gives you the confidence and the unity you need to keep pushing and hopefully win in post season.”

Sunday’s win wrapped up regular season play for the RiverHawks, but for some of the players this might be the last time they will get to play in front of their home crowd in Tahlequah. The team will graduate six seniors this year, including both team captains Joe Garcia, senior midfielder, and Bailey Weeks, senior defender.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling that the season is over,” said Garcia. “This program has really meant a lot to me. I’ve made a lot of lifetime friendships here.”

On Nov. 15, the team will play Fort Hayes for the Central Region Championship. The Tigers have delivered the RiverHawks only losses this season, making this a difficult game starting off their playoff push.

“I think we have a full understanding of how they play,” said Garcia. “I think this time the outcome will be different, because it’s very difficult to beat a team three times in a row”

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