The Oglethorpe men's soccer team advanced to the semifinals of the SAA Tournament Friday night, defeating host team and No. 3 seed Birmingham-Southern, 3-1, in the quarterfinals in Birmingham, Ala.
It was a comprehensive victory, as the Petrels came out strong, weathered some misfortune early on, got a lead, and killed the game off very well at the end.
Forward Carlos Gaston scored two goals and tallied one assist in the game for the Petrels. The two goals both came after the Petrels had given up a penalty kick allowing the Panthers to tie the game immediately after the Petrels had taken an early lead.
Gaston gave Oglethorpe the lead for good in the 20th minute when he took a long ball from defender Nikos Papanikolopoulos and put it past the goalkeeper one-on-one. Then, only 47 seconds into the second half, Gaston struck again to give the Petrels a valuable insurance goal. Fellow forward Jakub Madej played a through-ball into the box and Gaston took it and beat the keeper to give Oglethorpe the 3-1 lead, which they would hold onto for the remainder of the contest.
The Petrels jumped out to an almost immediate lead in the fifth minute when midfielder Nick Muntean took a long through-ball from Gaston and slotted it past the goalkeeper. This gave the Petrels a very early 1-0 lead. However, just two minutes later, disaster struck for the Petrels, as they gave up a penalty kick to the Panthers. The host team converted, tying the game and seemingly stopping all momentum that the Petrels had gained by obtaining their early lead. However, the Petrels were able to recover and continued playing well, leading into the two Gaston goals.
The Petrels outshot Birmingham-Southern 14-11, 6-2 on target, for the night. Oglethorpe even outshot their opponent 10-7 in the second half, when the Panthers were looking for ways to get back into the game. The Petrels took six corner kicks to the Panthers' four, and Birmingham-Southern forced goalkeeper Frank Petersen to make only one save on the evening.
The sixth-seeded Petrels improve to 9-6 on the season, and will take on No. 2 seed Berry in the SAA semifinals Saturday at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern in Birmingham. The Vikings defeated seventh-seeded Sewanee 5-0 earlier Friday evening to earn their spot in the semifinal round. The other semifinal will start at 1 p.m. Eastern, and will feature No. 1 seed Centre and No. 4 seed Millsaps.