Men’s soccer season ends with NCAA tournament run

By earning their berth through becoming the American Athletic Conference champions, Tulsa earned the right to host their first game in the tournament, drawing a game against No. 16 Florida International.

The Panthers got on the board first in the sixteenth minute, after some attacking play lead to a cross into the Tulsa box. The cross sent the ball towards the back post, close to the goal but just far enough away from goalkeeper Jake McGuire. Luis Betancur got on the end of it, and headed the ball home.

Neither team was able to capitalize on any chances for the remainder of the first half, and the Panthers took their 1–0 lead into the break.

In the second half, the Golden Hurricane came out and played aggressively, looking for an equalizing goal. They found one when Juan Sanchez took a masterful strike from near the top of the box, and sent it curving past the Panther goalkeeper to knot the score.

Shortly after, Munashe Ranaje drew a foul in the FIU box, earning a penalty kick. Geoffrey Dee stepped up to take the shot. After the goalkeeper saved the initial attempt, the rebound bounced back to Dee, who put the rebound home.

Tulsa nearly held their 2–1 lead for the rest of the game, but the Panthers had other plans. With just ten minutes left, Brad Fountain managed to bring the score level, forcing the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, Tulsa looked good with their offensive chances, and Miguel Velasquez was able to put one home, and the Golden Hurricane took the 3–2 overtime win.

In the second round, Tulsa faced No. 8 ranked Notre Dame. Similarly to the game against the Panthers, Tulsa went down in the first half, when Jeffrey Farina scored, giving Notre Dame a 1–0 lead. Their lead held until halftime.

In the second half, also similar to the FIU game, Tulsa began to play with more urgency. They pushed forward, and created a number of offensive opportunities. After fifteen minutes of pressure, Sanchez equalized off a pass from Dee.

The score held until the end of regulation, and still remained 1–1 after the two overtime periods.

After all of their conference tournament games resulted in wins via penalty shootout, the Golden Hurricane weren’t strangers to the situation. However, the shootout wasn’t as kind to them this time. Tulsa wasn’t able to convert any of their shots, and Notre Dame took the shootout 3–0 to advance.

Tulsa finished the season with an 8–6–7 record, a conference championship and a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament. After last year’s loss of a strong senior class that included Akeil Barrett and Abe Matamoros, this season went well for the Golden Hurricane. A lot of underclassmen had strong contributions throughout the year, and the core of the team will return next year, with the exception of defender Bradley Bourgeois. Look for good things from this team in the coming seasons.

Post Author: tucollegian

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