TU fails to qualify for AAC title

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano discusses men’s soccer.
The University of Tulsa men’s soccer team failed to secure themselves a spot in this season’s American Athletic Conference Championship tournament on Nov. 1 after a consecutive three-season attendance. TU needed a win over Florida International University, and for Temple to lose against SMU, in order to advance. Though the Owls fell 2-1 to the Mustangs, TU’s game ended in a 2-2 draw at the Hurricane Soccer Stadium. Tulsa ended the season at 4-8-3 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play.

“We started the game pretty well and we looked dangerous going forward. We scored a great goal to start the game,” said head coach Tom McIntosh. “The second half was very open and got a little out of control for sure, but I am proud of the seniors. They fought hard, and they fought to the final buzzer.”

This loss made for a bitter end to TU’s senior night final game of the season which started with a beautiful celebration of its seniors. Prior to the game, TU honored seniors, Sergio Baena, Eshwar Challa, Mike Eijgendaal, Malik Henry-Scott, Luke Jeffus, Paul Richnow, Cedrik Stern and Takayoshi Wyatt.

The Golden Hurricane was ready to strike from the very beginning, with forward Wyatt getting two shots on goal in the first half, one of which ricocheted off the crossbar. Despite both teams taking shots at the start of the game, neither were able to put themselves on the scoreboard, goalkeeper Stern saving seven out of the nine shots on goal made by the Panthers. However, Wyatt would not stop at his two shot attempts, the senior going on to assist graduate player Eijgendaal in securing the game’s first goal. This goal had TU entering halftime with a 1-0 lead. Despite its lead, TU would not step off the field with confidence, the Panthers having shot on the goal three times more than the Golden Hurricane.

FIU opened up the second half with its equalizer just five minutes in when Bernardo Dos Santos Monteiro was able to round off a strategic play, his goal being assisted by Diego Castillo and Philip Hildenbrandt. The Golden Hurricane would fail to keep the Panthers at bay, and 10 minutes later, its senior forward Fumiya Shiraishi blasted its second goal past Stern to secure a 1-2 lead.

TU would battle for its own equalizer for the next 17 minutes, after which it finally caught a break. In an attempt to gain possession, FIU’s Owen Travis committed a handball in the box, giving TU a penalty shot. Beana was able to put this ball into the net, bringing the game to 2-2.

After the following kickoff, Baena and Castillo would both receive red cards from an altercation between the two on the field. Both teams proceeded to play a 10-on-10 game. With no other significant attempts made by either team, the game would end in a deadlocked draw.

Florida, who is ranked No. 21 nationally, concluded the regular season with a 9-3-4 overall record and a 5-1-2 record in conference play. The team now continues in the American Championship tournament.