MCKENZIE, Tenn.—A strong second half by No. 8 Bethel lifted the top-seeded Wildcats past LSUA 2-1 in the first round of the NAIA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Wildcat Field.
The season comes to an end for the Generals, who reached the NAIA Tournament for the third time in school history. It is still looking for that elusive first tournament victory.
Bethel’s eventual game-winning goal came in the 65th minute by Alphonso Gooden. Brian Mbauni dribbled the ball near the right sideline and sent in a great pass into the box for Gooden, who collided with LSUA goalkeeper Alvaro Garcia and Gooden knocked the ball in.
LSUA was clamoring for an offsides call, but to no avail and the goal gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Seven minutes prior, BU scored the contest’s first goal after neither team put on into the back of the net in the first half. Before he registered the assist on the second goal, Mbauni had a sensational goal to kick off the scoring.
Mbauni had the ball around 25 yards out, made a move and turned around and fired a left-footed kick into the top left corner of the goal and there was nothing Garcia could do about the perfectly placed shot.
LSUA (5-5-3) tallied its goal of the game in the 68th minute. Freshman Danny Stevens beat BU goalkeeper Norberto Lima Vieira, who had come out to challenge, to cut it to 2-1. BU was looking for an offsides call of its own, but the goal stood.
With the victory, BU (13-1) moves on to play the winner of No. 2 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 3 Mid-America Christian (Okla.).
LSUA controlled the first half, recording the only two shots in the first half and two of the three total shots for the Generals in the contest.
Samuel Ogunjobi, playing in his last game for LSUA, posted both shots in the first half, including one on frame.
In the second half, everyone knew the top-seeded Wildcats would turn up the heat, and that’s exactly what happened.
Just over four minutes into the second half, BU recorded its first shot of the game, which was the best chance up to that point.
The chance was created off a steal near the top of the box in LSUA territory. Gooden made a few moves to free himself for a great look at the goal, but his shot rolled wide left to keep it scoreless.
Minutes later, the Wildcats had another golden opportunity, as Alioune Diop had a chance to boot it home off a corner kick by Sergio Baguena. But Garcia, like he had all career long, robbed Diop of the first goal of the game. It was one of four saves for Garcia, who had his decorated LSUA career come to an end.
As a team, BU outshot LSUA 7-3, including 7-1 in the final 45 minutes. The only shot for LSUA came on the goal from Stevens.
Following the goal by Stevens, the BU defense put the clamps down and never surrendered any major threats or a shot in the final 22 minutes to thwart the Generals comeback attempt.
CUTLINE: Samuel Ogunjobi registered a team-high two shots, with one on net, in his last game with LSUA, a 2-1 loss in the first round of the NAIA Tournament to No. 8 Bethel.