By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
Baylor men’s club soccer team’s season came to an end over the weekend at the NIRSA Region IV South Soccer Tournament at the University of Texas.
Baylor played three games Saturday before being knocked out of the tournament. The first two games of the tournament were pool play and only the top two teams from each pool advanced to the single elimination tournament.
In its first game of the day, the club played Lone Star College- North Harris. Baylor took the lead early in the game as San Antonio junior Nico Pantanini scored off of a penalty kick in the 18th minute. Lone Star fought back and scored a goal of its own, but Chicago sophomore striker Chris Metcalf scored a header in the 68th minute to seal the game for Baylor.
“Scott [Simigian] set [the goal] up perfectly. I was wide open in the box for a header and I knew we needed the goal when the ball came to me,” Metcalf said. “I knew I had to finish it so did.”
In its next game against Tulane, Baylor showed its defensive prowess, not allowing a goal out of the seven shots on goal. The club won the game 1-0, with the lone goal coming from Coppell senior Horacio Gaitan Robles in the 12th minute.
After defeating Lone Stare College- North Harris and Tulane, Baylor moved into the single elimination bracket to face Southern Methodist University. This was a rematch as Baylor traveled to Dallas earlier in the year and lost to SMU 1-0.
Coppell sophomore midfielder Scott Simigian said the club knew it was going to be tough to play against SMU again.
“It was our third game of the day so our legs were a little tired. SMU had beat us in the regular season and they are tough. SMU had only played two games so their legs weren’t as tired,” Simigian said. “We knew we were going to have to work hard and fight to win the game.”
SMU scored early in the game to take the lead, but in the 30th minute, Coppell senior striker and co-captain Collin McAden scored on a free kick to tie the game. The game stayed close, as both teams were fighting for control of the ball and fighting to own the time of possession. The teams went into halftime tied 1-1.
The second half was similar to the first as both teams struggled to gain an edge over the other until SMU scored in the 65th minute to take a 2-1 lead. SMU had all of the momentum as the game continued, but Montgomery senior forward and co-captain Major Johnson managed to score off a header with only five minutes left in the game to tie it at 2-2.
At the end of regulation, the game was tied 2-2. They added extra time and the game went to sudden death, which means whoever scored the next goal would win the game. Neither team was able to gain an advantage as the extra time expired. The game then went to a penalty shootout. The teams were trading scores in the penalty kicks until Baylor’s ninth shot missed. The game all came down to SMU’s penalty kick. The player struck the ball and it found the back of the net, ending Baylor’s season.
Atlanta sophomore forward Matt Craig said the SMU game was one of the best games the club has played all year.
“SMU was a great game. We went down to them twice and we fought back to tie it two times. They are a really good team and it showed,” Craig said. “We had to keep our stamina up since we played three games. Going into extra time and penalty kicks with them showed that we are a tough team. Even though we lost, it was a great overall game.”
The club ended the season with an overall record of 2-2-4. Baylor missed qualifying for the NIRSA Championship Series in Arizona by two games.