FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s soccer team wound up on the wrong end of a close postseason match on Wednesday night to put an abrupt end to their GPAC Tournament title hopes.
The No. 2 seed Warriors (13-4-2 overall) couldn’t capitalize on enough scoring chances as they were outlasted by the No. 7 seed Jamestown Jimmies (8-8-2 overall) on a frigid and windy night at Heedum Field.
“Unfortunately we picked the most important game in the season to put together our worst performance,” said head coach Raphael Martinez. “After Jamestown scored early they only grew in confidence and belief that they could win the game. They outplayed us in all facets of the game and deserved to advance in the conference tournament. We wish them the best of luck.”
The two teams played into overtime on October 19 in Jamestown, with Midland escaping with a 2-1 win. Wednesday’s close decision was no surprise for anyone that has followed the two teams closely this season.
Jamestown started the scoring early as Diego Valle connected on Jamestown’s first shot of the game. The Jimmies played against the heavy winds in the first half and were lucky to manage that early goal. It put the pressure solely on Midland for the remainder of the contest.
The Warriors had the wind at their backs to start the game but struggled to find the net for a long while. They finally broke through in the 42nd minute as freshman defender Yannick Pohland scored a header goal on a corner kick from sophomore Eli Draves.
The goal was the first of Pohland’s collegiate career and came at an opportune time as it tied the game at 1-1 going into halftime.
In the 66th minute, the Jimmies benefitted from a Midland own goal after a corner kick ball bounced off of a pair of players and touched senior Robert Wiseman last. The goal put Jamestown up 2-1, allowing them to pack in their defense and play conservatively in the final stages of the game.
Midland went against the wind in the second half and organized a good number of attacks, but the Jimmies were set on taking the game 2-1 after they had the lead. The Jimmies were outshot 16-8, but their defensive efforts were too much for the Warriors as they managed to pull off the upset and advance to the GPAC Tournament semifinal round.
The loss ends an 11-game unbeaten streak for the Warriors and leaves them with nothing to do but hope and wait for the right outcomes in the next week. By virtue of placing second in the GPAC regular season standings, Midland can still receive an automatic berth to the NAIA National Tournament if the regular season champions, the Morningside Mustangs, win the GPAC Tournament.
Morningside won its opening round match 2-0 over Mount Marty on Wednesday and will host No. 4 seed Briar Cliff this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in the semifinals.
If this is the end of the 2019 season, the Warriors should remember the year as a great success and a vast improvement from 2018. The 11-game unbeaten streak ranks as the third-longest in the program in nearly two decades and was sparked by both veteran leaders and talented young guns that grew into their own as the season progressed.
The future of the 2019 team will be determined after the GPAC Tournament ends on Thursday, November 14. Should Midland be selected to the NAIA National Tournament, the Warriors would play an opening round game on the road on either November 22 or 23.