The men’s soccer team had to settle for a 2-2 tie with MVC. Baker ended the regular season 16-0-1 overall and 6-0-1 in the HAAC, but had to share its conference title with Missouri Valley, who also finished 6-0-1 in conference play. BU will be the No. 2 seed behind MVC due to goal differential.
Photo by Pat Howell.
The Baker University men’s soccer team has a knack for drama.
The Wildcats played Missouri Valley College to a 2-2 tie in double overtime on Tuesday, after defeating Culver-Stockton University on Saturday 5-0.
The ’Cats were down early 22 minutes in on an own goal. Junior Donny George quickly tied the game up with a goal 28 seconds later.
Missouri Valley took the lead again heading into the second half, but senior Sean McAlister tied it up in the 69th minute of the match.
Neither team was able to put a game-winning goal in the net, so after two overtime sessions, the match ended in a 2-2 tie.
The Vikings and the Wildcats ended the season as co-HAAC champions with conference records of 6-0-1, but because of goal differential, Missouri Valley will claim the No. 1 seed headed into the HAAC tournament, while Baker will have the No. 2 seed.
MVC outscored HAAC opponents by 13 goals whereas BU outscored its conference foes by 12 goals.
Sophomore Matt Bickley, who finished the match with seven saves, said the game was very bittersweet.
“It feels good that we’re still undefeated and we still haven’t found a team that can beat us yet,” Bickley said. “But at the same time it’s kind of disappointing that we didn’t get the win; we didn’t win conference outright.”
After winning 16-straight games, a tie seemed somewhat odd to the Wildcats.
Senior Nick Ebmeyer believes it came at a good time for the team, though.
“I think it’s just we see it more as a wake-up call,” Ebmeyer said. “We’d been winning and we expected to win and so coming out with anything less than that just kind of seems like somewhat of a letdown…so I guess it’s really just kind of motivation for the next time we play them, which would be in the conference final.”
Even though there is some mild disappointment with the tie, Baker is still undefeated through the entire season.
This is the first time a soccer team at Baker has been able to do that.
Head coach Nate Houser knows that this is a special group of young men.
“This is something that is different,” said Houser. “I think the guys have been consistent. I think that’s the biggest thing … it’s a good first.”
As sweet as it is, going undefeated has never been the goal for the ’Cats though; there has always been a higher goal for the team.
“We didn’t start the season to play to be undefeated,” Houser said. “We started it to give ourselves an opportunity to compete nationally. And I think we’re on our way to doing that.”
The Wildcats will have a first round bye and then host a second round game in the conference tournament against either No. 3 seed Benedictine College or No. 6 seed Central Methodist University at Liston Stadium, but the time and date of the game was not available at presstime.