• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Staff

Midway Men’s Soccer takes Runner-Up in RSC Tournament

MIDWAY UNIVERSITY'S MEN'S SOCCER TEAM was the runner-up in the River States Conference Tournament after falling to the tournament champion, West Virginia Tech on penalty kicks, 3-2. (Midway University Photo)

The Midway University men’s soccer team and the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears went the distance and then some on Saturday, November 11, at the Midway Soccer Field as they battled for the right to be the 2017 River States Conference Tournament Champions.

The Eagles and Golden Bears would need overtime for the second time this season after neither team scored in regulation. After neither team scored in a pair of 10 minute sudden death overtimes, the game would be decided on a penalty kick shootout.

In the shootout, the Golden Bears (8-9-4) converted on three of their five penalty kicks, while the Eagles connected on just two in five attempts as West Virginia Tech walked away as the RSC Tournament Champions.

In just their second year as a program, the Eagles finish the season with a 10-5-2 overall record as they walk away as the River States Conference Tournament Runner-Up.

Midway and West Virginia Tech met for the first time this season back on September 28 and in that game, the offenses took center stage as it ended in a 3-3 draw, but this time around, the defenses took center stage.

Neither team really had a good shot to score until the 33rd minute when Mark Magallanes got behind the Midway defense creating a one-on-one with Christian Neira. The Santiago, Chile native came sprinting out of goal and forced Magallanes to rush his shot as the senior made the save.

Midway would also have a couple of opportunities, but none of their shots came on goal as the halftime buzzer sounded with zeros on the scoreboard. The Golden Bears held a 4-3 advantage in shots and a 3-0 edge in shots on goal in the first half.

The Eagles had a couple of chances to start the second half including their first shot on goal in the 49th minute. Brad Wilson sent a corner kick into the box and connected with Harry Kirwan, but Kirwan’s header was saved by the keeper.

For the remainder of the second stanza, the Eagles were forced to play defense in order to withstand the Golden Bear attack. Neira made a couple of big saves down the stretch to keep the game scoreless as the game headed to overtime.

Neither team would create a good opportunity to score in either overtime as the two teams needed a PK shootout to determine a champion.

Stephen Pueterbaugh got the Eagles off to a good start in the shootout as he scored the first attempt. Meanwhile, Neira made a huge save as Midway led 1-0 after the first round.

Unfortunately for Midway, they misfired on their next three attempts, while WVU Tech hit two of the three to take a 2-1 lead into the fifth and final round. Brad Wilson converted on his attempt in the fifth round, but so did WVU Tech as they walked away with the 3-2 win in PKs.

Christian Neira posted his fifth shutout of the season . Neira finishes the season with a 15-5-2 record in goal as he stopped seven shots from the Golden Bears in a total of 110 minutes played in goal.

Head men’s soccer coach, Tim Wolz will now turn his attention of dealing with the difficult task of replacing his seven seniors.

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