The Oglethorpe men's soccer team outscored the No. 8 seed Hendrix Warriors 5-0 in the final 55 minutes Saturday afternoon at the Oglethorpe Track and Field to overcome an early 1-0 deficit and a game-long downpour in the SAA quarterfinals. With the victory, the top-seeded Stormy Petrels moved to 14-2-1 on the season overall, secured advancement to the conference semifinals for the second consecutive year, and earned the right to host the final two rounds of the SAA Tournament.
The Petrels outshot Hendrix 10-3 in the first half of play, but the Warriors scored the game's opening tally completely against the run of play in the 25th minute on a long ball over the top. Oglethorpe had to recover, and do so in what was a steady rain throughout the entire first half. They continued attacking the Hendrix goal and broke through in the 35th minute on a low cross from junior forward Ryan Marcano that found the foot of junior midfielder Topher Marshall for the latter's 13th goal of the season. The home side didn't slow down there, and Marcano again had the ball on the right side of the penalty area in the 41st minute when he played a similar ball to junior forward Devon Patterson for the former's second assist of the game, giving the Petrels a 2-1 lead late in the period.
In the second half, the Petrels immediately extended their advantage off the foot of Patterson again. He took a pass from senior defender Stefan Williams and beat several defenders down the left-hand side of the field, taking the ball all the way from midfield into the box and scoring past Hendrix goalkeeper Josh Newman for a 3-1 advantage less than 30 seconds into the second half. Patterson finished the game with six goals on the season.
A poor Hendrix clearance in their own penalty area resulted in Marshall's second goal of the contest in the 51st minute. He took the ball near the top of the box and calmly fired it past Newman for a 4-1 advantage, giving him a league-leading 14 goals on the season.
At that point, the steady rain turned into a heavy downpour for the remainder of the contest, making what was an already difficult Hendrix task even harder.
For the game, Oglethorpe outshot Hendrix 24-6, putting 11 shots on target to 3 for the Warriors. Oglethorpe took 11 corner kicks while shutting Hendrix out in that regard. Marshall fired five shots and put four on goal en route to his double on the afternoon. Patterson put two of his three shots on goal, scoring on both.
"Obviously, we played in tough conditions today, and getting behind a goal was far from ideal," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "I thought we responded well, though. We continued about our business and had the lead before halftime. We then put the game away early in the second half. We'll have to play better overall going forward in this tournament, but we got the job done today."
The Petrels will take on No. 4 seed Berry in the SAA semifinals on Friday evening at the Oglethorpe Track and Field in a rematch of a game the Petrels won 2-1 in exciting comeback fashion a week ago to clinch the SAA regular season crown. No. 2 seed Centre will take on No. 6 seed Millsaps in the other game, with the two winners facing off against each other on Sunday, Nov. 5, for the championship at the same venue.