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HUMS comes up short in PK shootout

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. – The HU men’s soccer team’s season came to an end Saturday night at Morey Field but not before the Foresters proved themselves as one of best in the league.

Up against top-seeded Bethel College in the semifinals of the Crossroads League tournament, 4th-seeded HU played to a 1-1 stalemate through regulation and a pair of OT sessions before it came down to a penalty kick shootout for the rights to advance to the championship game of the tourney.

Leading up to the dramatic finish, Huntington had held the lead for over 75 minutes after Marcos Salinas whipped a ball into Matheus Louzada who played it back across the box into Miguel de Sousa for the easy tap in in the 13th minute of play for the early 1-0 advantage.

Their 1-0 lead stuck until the waning minutes of regulation when BC’s leading scorer Lucas Moreira finally cracked a hard-nosed, tough HU defense for his ninth goal of the year. The deadlock held through both overtime periods to force the PK shootout.

Huntington found themselves behind the eight ball right away in the shootout after missing their first two shots while the Pilots found back netting both times for a BC 2-0 advantage.

Bethel’s third shot hit the crossbar while Luke Unger converted for HU to give the visitors a glimmer of hope. Both teams traded scores in round four with Brooks Smith netting Huntington’s goal but Bethel’s Helton Moura blasted his team’s final shot into the back of the net to seal the win.

“The boys were fantastic tonight,” said head coach Russ Lawson. “We possessed a fighting spirit that was unified and resilient the entire night.

“With Bethel’s many offensive weapons, I thought our defense was terrific tonight. We had a couple of huge moments to keep that one-goal lead until late in the game.”

Per NAIA standards, the game between BC and HU will be recorded as a tie with the 5-2 PK shootout result advancing BC in tournament play.

With the season in the books, Coach Lawson had nothing but good to say about his squad. “This team took a couple of big steps for our program by finishing in the top four of the league, hosting a tournament game and taking #1 seed Bethel to PKs.

“I’m so proud of the boys and so grateful for the effort and sacrifices of our players and staff. We are going to miss our eight seniors – Max, Sam, Thommy, Brandon, James, Brad, Marcos and Isaac. They are a group of quality men who led us well!”

Huntington closes the season with a record of 8-9-2.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.