Sunday, November 21, 2010

RSU Soccer men end season in SAC quarterfinals

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The 2010 Rogers State men’s soccer team certainly did not cease to have an impressive year. The Hillcats captured their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Oral Roberts University.

The win crowned the Hillcats as the first RSU sport in history to take down a NCAA Division I opponent, meanwhile handing ORU their first loss of the season.

From then on RSU men were unstoppable tying the program’s longest streak ever of nine wins, leaving most of their opponents scoreless and defeating nationally ranked teams like Oklahoma City University.

Yet, on Nov. 5 the Stars sought revenge ending the Hillcats season quest of making a national appearance with a 3-1 victory over Rogers State in the opening round of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament.

The loss also ended the RSU soccer college careers for 10 players on the 2010 squad. Seniors Sean Surridge, Carlos Zuta, Des Fitzgerald, Matt Longaberger, Jaime Perez, Brett Jones, Trent Baker, Nikola Samac, Oscar Zelaya, and Sergio Guerra played their last match in a Hillcat uniform.

Leading up to the SAC tournament, RSU men battled through a variety of matches. The Hillcats drew even against Lubbock Christian University in a double overtime final score of 1-1. The Chaps were first to get on the scoreboard in the 68th minute.

The Hillcats replied nearly 15 minutes later in the 82nd minute as junior T.J. Martin scored his fifth goal of the year to tie the game. Both teams settled for a tie after 120 minutes of play.

A couple days later, RSU men received their third loss of the season falling to the University of Science and Arts 2-1 in another double overtime battle. Surridge made nine saves during the game while allowing only allowing two goals.

The Hillcats redeemed themselves on the chilly night of Oct. 26 toppling Oklahoma Christian University. A celebrated victory and in turn an emotional evening as it was senior night for the 10 seniors on Head Coach Derek Larkin’s team, who were honored prior to the game.

“It was very hard. We lose a lot of leadership and majority on the team and more importantly just that team chemistry,” said Larkin. “Those guys have meant a lot to this program; they’ve won a lot of games and they’ve been an intrical part of everything that we do in building the tradition.”

With the help of the women’s victory earlier in the evening, Larkin and the Hillcat soccer program achieved their 100th win of the season.

The memorable win would be their last of the year as the RSU men completed their regular season slate falling to Mid-America Christian 0-2 and in the quarterfinals of the SAC Tournament 1-3 against Oklahoma City.

Post season soccer honors were given to sophomore Bryan Jones earning Second Team All-Conference and Surridge as the SAC Goalkeeper of the Year.

In his final match, Surridge made seven saves while giving up two goals. The four year starter has been with the program since the inaugural season, playing in 51 games and making 380 saves. Jones, Fitzgerald, Zuta, Perez and Longaberger have also been a Hillcat since the inaugural season.

The Hillcats finished the season 11-6-2 overall with a 5-4-1 SAC record. RSU men’s soccer have nothing to hang their heads about as they have indeed left their Hillcat mark on Rogers State University.

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