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Mustangs need one more

TMC wins a thriller in a shootout and advances to the NAIA national championship game

Posted: December 4, 2009 10:41 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2009 4:30 a.m.

As the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Tournament’s No. 15 seed, each match The Master’s College men’s soccer team wins seems more and more improbable.

But nobody told the Mustangs they should act like underdogs.

Scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods, TMC beat the University of Rio Grande 7-6 on penalty kicks Friday in Fresno to advance to the program’s first-ever NAIA championship game.

“From the soccer world, it puts Master’s on the map,” said Mustangs head coach Jim Rickard. “We’ve done some good things before, but we’ve never been to the NAIA finals. It validates the program.”

The Master’s (20-2-2) will play top-ranked Lindsey Wilson, which beat Simon Fraser 3-0 in its semifinal matchup, at 3 p.m. today.

TMC got shootout goals from Jacob Marchesani, Joel Peluffo, Andy Hegg, Tyler Salvey, Fabrice Gautrat, Marcelo Silva and J.D. Hoeft to get the victory.

Meanwhile, Mustangs goalkeeper Kevin Lawson proved himself invaluable once again, registering six saves and forcing two of Rio Grande’s penalty kicks into the post.

“I mean, Kevin is the reason that we won,” Rickard said.

The victory was Lawson’s and the Mustangs’ 14th shutout.

TMC was outshot 15-8, getting three from Guilherme Mitrovitch, two from Marchesani and one from Doug Armstrong, Salvey and Gautrat.

Rio Grande (18-4-2) was led by midfielder Rafael Maccauro’s five shots and forward Scott Bibby’s three.

“That is probably the best team that I’ve been against in I can’t think of how long it’s been,” Rickard said.

Things don’t get any easier for the Mustangs as they go up against high-powered Lindsey Wilson.

“They are quick and fast and put great touches together. (They) score a lot of goals,” Rickard said.

The coach said that his team must continue its defensive pressure and do everything it can to recover from Friday night’s emotional win.

If the Mustangs can, they will head back to the Santa Clarita Valley as national champions.

Note: The Master’s College women’s soccer team set up a National Christian College Athletic Association-championship rematch with Olivet Nazarene University with a 4-1 victory over Judson University on Thursday in the semifinals in Kissimmee, Fla.

It was reported Friday that TMC’s meeting with the Tigers would be in the semifinals, but in fact, the Mustangs (14-5-2) will play for the NCCAA title today at 3 p.m.

In last year’s final, Olivet Nazarene beat The Master’s College 2-1 with a goal in the 87th minute.



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