by Joe Azar
Entering Sunday’s game, Head Coach Todd Padgett praised his team for the difference in confidence his team had entering the NCAA Tournament this year in contrast to 2015. Coming off the RMAC double, CMU had the expectation to contend nationally, showing no fear in their opening round matchup in the tournament against Midwestern State. This year, players had no doubt in their ability to win.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, faith and confidence don’t always win in the cruel sport of soccer.
Despite having the more chances in the game, Christian Okeke scored a goal with 1:18 to play to break the hearts of CMU players as the Mustangs knocked out the Mavericks in the opening round of the national competition.
“Most heartbreaking loss I’ve taken in all my years of soccer,” tweeted CMU defenseman James McGhee.
The Mavs finished with seven shots on goal as opposed to the Mustangs’ three. Moshe Perez continued his breakout season despite not making the difference on the scoresheet. The Israeli midfielder created multiple chances for his team, having a season-high six shots with three of them on goal. Luis Schraidt finished with two shots on goal.
The best opportunity for the Mavs to score came from Kevin Del Mazo, who took a shot that was on its way to the back of the net, but MSU goalkeeper Noah Fazekas was able to save the shot. Fazekas finished with six saves on the day.
CMU suffers its first loss since a 2-1 defeat on September 11 against St. Edwards. That loss and Sunday’s defeat were the only two times this season that the Mavs were beaten as the finished with an impressive record of 14-2-5 and a clean sweep in RMAC Competitions.
“ Absolutely gutted and heartbroken after today,” goalkeeper Briley Guarneri tweeted. “But overall a great season and something to remain prideful of.”