With their season in jeopardy, the NGU men’s soccer team pulled out a nail biting 3-2 overtime victory over Emmanuel College of Georgia Saturday afternoon on the road to clinch a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) regional berth.
The Crusaders (6-9) went down 2-0 as Emmanuel scored late in the first half and added another goal early in the second. However, Coach Chad Gfeller’s team patiently fought back as Jonathan Restrepo (FR Dover, NJ) scored in the middle of the second half off an assist by Max Duarte (JR Porto Alegre, Brazil). Then, with what could have been the last ten minutes of their season remaining, Seth Snyder (JR Fountain Inn, SC) fired a shot across the goal mouth that found the back of the net. The score held up and the teams went into overtime.
In the first 30 seconds of the overtime, Duarte was taken down in the Emmanuel box, and he converted the ensuing penalty kick to clinch the victory for the Crusaders.
“Our whole season flashed in front of our eyes,” Gfeller said. “It came down to, we win, we keep playing; we lose and we’re done.” You have to give our players credit; they kept playing because they knew if they lost this game, the season was over.”
NGU will learn its fate in the post-season Monday afternoon as they will learn if they are a four or five seed to the NCCAA South Regional Tournament Nov. 20-21. Gfeller said the Crusaders might have to take part in a “play in” game to advance to the regionals.