The No. 19 and top-seeded Oglethorpe men's soccer team found themselves locked in a tight game with eighth-seeded Hendrix in the early-going Saturday afternoon in the first round of the SAA tournament at the Oglethorpe Track and Field. The Stormy Petrels led 1-0 at halftime, but ran off four goals in the second half to pull away for a 5-0 victory. The win improved the Petrels to 13-3 on the season, extended their winning streak to eight games, and advanced them to the conference semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
The Petrels immediately put the visiting Warriors under pressure, outshooting them 19-0 in the first half. The Hendrix defense stood tall early in the game, though, not allowing any of the Oglethorpe shots to get through. That changed in the 22nd minute, as senior midfielder Gabe Alvarez sent in a perfect corner kick to the near post and freshman defender Josh Labus headed it past Hendrix goalkeeper Josh Neuman for his first career goal. Hendrix held the Petrels there for the remainder of the half, though, and the home side led 1-0 going into halftime.
The game opened up in the second half after the Petrels scored their second goal, though. Senior defender Christian Waegelin took a pass from senior midfielder Josh Bronstorph, dribbled into the box from the right side, and finished past Neuman to give his team a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute. Hendrix had to open up the game after that, and the Petrels took advantage. Senior forward Ryan Marcano won a penalty kick and finished the chance himself in the 55th minute to make it 3-0, and sophomore forward Logan Llano made it four when he took an excellent cross from junior midfielder Alan Hernandez in the 67th minute and headed it past Neuman on the back post. The Petrels completed their scoring in the 75th minute, when senior forward Hudson Fennell headed an outstanding cross from freshman midfielder Fernando Guevara past Neuman.
Oglethorpe outshot the Warriors 21-3 in the second half and 40-3 over the course of the game. They also took 15 corner kicks to Hendrix's two.
Freshman goalkeeper Ulises Rodriguez had an easy afternoon, facing no shots on goal and earning his fourth clean sheet of the season. Neuman finished the game with 12 saves, including 10 in the second half.
As the conference's top seed, the Petrels earned the right to host the final two rounds of the SAA Men's Soccer Championship Nov. 8 and 10. They'll take on fourth-seeded Berry Friday at approximately 7 p.m. from the Oglethorpe Track and Field, while the other semifinal takes place just prior to that game at 4:30 p.m.