The Spring Hill College Men’s Soccer team defeated the University of West Florida, 5-4, on Saturday, taking the Badgers into their first postseason since becoming a member of NCAA Division II athletics.
Within the first five minutes of the game, sophomore Matthew Moreno scored with an assist from freshman Cyril Giraud. Shortly after, the opposing team scored from a corner kick. It was not until 20 minutes later that junior Alex Lipinski scored with a penalty kick, closing out the first half with Spring Hill in the lead, 2-1.
The University of West Florida Argonauts dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, though, scoring three times. However, the Badgers came back in the remaining time with two more goals by Lipinski and Moreno. Amidst a tied score, the final few minutes were nail-biting for SHC as the Badger defense prevailed against the forceful UWF offense. Spring Hill goalie Barou Ndaw explained what he was feeling as he blocked several critical shots: “Honestly, I have so much emotion inside of me, I wanted to cry. It was so much pressure because I knew that if they scored, that was the end of it.”
Nonetheless, with the score at 4-4, the game went into overtime, making an already intense game even more so. Showcasing their command as a team, the Badgers scored with a goal from 35 yards out by senior Tilman Schober. In regards to his game-winning play, Shoeber said, “I was just super happy. The overtime win felt really good, especially because it was my last game at the home field.”
This historic win sparks excitement for the team as it is the first time they will be playing postseason. For many seniors on the team, this win couldn’t have come at a better time. Tilman Schober couldn't have been more thrilled: “I am super excited. This is my fourth season here and for the first time, we have the opportunity to go postseason. We have a good chance to go very far.” Among those excited includes all of the soccer team fans.
Elizabeth Thompson, a spectator rooting for the Badgers Saturday said, “It got nerve-racking towards the end but we all knew that our team would win. I am just ecstatic about the post-season and firmly believe that we have an opportunity to do really well.”
Steve Weiczorek, head coach, said, “We have as good a chance as any who qualify. Conference playoff semi-finals and finals are difficult whether you are the favorite or not. I'm very happy to have qualified already for the semi-final which may give our team a slight advantage over those you have to play in the quarterfinals.”