Golden Eagles Beat IPFW; Advance to Championship
KANSAS CITY, Mo.- Junior Sid Stewart scored with 13 seconds remaining in the match to give the Golden Eagles a 3-2 victory over IPFW in the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament.
With the win, ORU advances to their second straight championship game and will face Western Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m. in a rematch of the season finale, where ORU defeated the Leathernecks 3-2 to qualify for the Summit League tournament.
The Golden Eagles (7-10-2, 4-2-1) win their second nail-biter in a row as they knock off the No.2 seed Mastodons in their quest for their first conference title since 1999.
Goals from All-Conference defender Griff Poindexter and First Team All-Conference selection Aaron Birk, along with Stewart's goal in the final minute, iced the win for ORU. Freshman Nick Petolick anchored the Golden Eagles with five saves, allowing just two goals in 90 minutes in the biggest game of his young career.
IPFW (8-10-2, 3-3-1), who was playing in their first ever conference tournament, had defeated ORU easily in the season at home 3-1. But goals from Offensive Player of the Year Max Touloute and freshman Jason Mills were not enough to put away the relentless Golden Eagles. Freshman Keeper Brandon Cloutier also had five saves, but allowed three goals.
ORU trailed early when Touloute scored in the first nine seconds of the match; the fasted goal in Summit League history. However, ORU was not fazed, and they rallied to tie the game 1-1 off a rare goal from Poindexter in the 7th minute.
The Slow start by ORU was all but forgotten when Birk took a shot in the 15th minute that bounced off the keeper's hands and into the back of the net to give ORU the 2-1 advantage.
The end of the first half and start of the second half passed without a goal, and IPFW seemed to snatch the momentum when they finally broke through with their second goal of the night off the shot from Jason Mills in the 76th minute. The game looked like it was headed into overtime, when Sid Stewart rebounded a corner-kick shot from freshman John David James and put it in the back of the net for the 3-2 win with 13 seconds remaining in the game.
ORU will now face the No. 1 seed Western Illinois as they try to earn a berth in the NCAA College Cup and end the 12 year drought.
The Championship game is scheduled for 1 P.M. Central time on Sunday, in Kansas City, Missouri.