The Oglethorpe men's soccer team clinched their second consecutive outright SAA regular season crown Sunday afternoon in Jackson, Mississippi, scoring a pair of goals in the first half en route to a 2-0 victory over Millsaps. The victory ensured the Petrels will have the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the conference's two-weekend tournament. The Petrels improved to 5-4-3 on the season overall and 5-0-1 in SAA play.
The Petrels got settled into the game early and got off to an excellent start, taking a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when sophomore midfielder Topher Marshall finished a chance past Millsaps goalkeeper Jonathan Huebbe. Oglethorpe extended that advantage in the 32nd minute when freshman forward Gabe Alvarez finished a shot past Huebbe to double Oglethorpe's lead to 2-0. The Petrels maintained that advantage into the halftime break with the help of junior goalkeeper Luke Whelan, who stopped three Millsaps shots over the course of the period.
The Petrels controlled the run-of-play in the second half, outshooting the Majors 7-5 and not allowing a single Millsaps shot on goal. The scoreless second half proved more than enough to secure the championship-clinching victory for the Petrels.
The Petrels outshot Millsaps 14-13 over the course of the game, including a 3-3 tally in shots on target. Millsaps took six corner kicks to Oglethorpe's none, but it didn't matter, in the end.
Marshall and Alvarez each finished with six total shots with Marshall putting a couple on goal.
"This was a great team win today," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "I'm proud of the way the guys battled all day, and to win the SAA regular season championship for the second consecutive year is a great accomplishment! We've got one more game to finish out conference play, but we've secured one of the three trophies we were hoping to win this season and, after next weekend, we can now focus on the other two. We're looking forward to playing the SAA Tournament on our home field in front of our fans."
The Petrels have two more regular season contests before they head into the SAA Tournament. They'll take on Berry in Mount Berry, Georgia, Saturday at 1 p.m. before heading to Lawrenceville, Georgia, the following day for a non-conference showdown with NAIA Georgia Gwinnett.
The two-weekend SAA Tournament will begin on Saturday, Oct. 29. The No. 8 seed Hendrix will visit the Oglethorpe Track and Field for the tournament's quarterfinal round. With a victory in that game, the Petrels would then host the championship rounds of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 6.