October 27, 2015 — On a cold, rainy senior night, the Lions of Bryan College played host to the Truett-McConnell Bears. The Lions came into the contest with an opportunity to win the outright Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship, and they were up to the task.
The first half began slowly for the Lions as both teams adjusted to difficult weather conditions as well as a later than expected start. Possession went back and forth as both teams sought to find consistency. Several early shot attempts by the Lions fell away and the Bears earned 2 late corner kicks to test the mettle of senior goalkeeper Josue Fernandez, who got the start in his final regular season match at Bryan College.
However, the 2nd half was a different story for the Lions as the pressure provided by the midfield combination of Rafael Mentzingen, Joe Goreham, and Kevin Roenpage created all kinds of problems for the Bears. In the 53rd minute Bryan finally broke through on creative passing through the midfield by Stephen Ricketts, who targeted a streaking Mentzingen. Mentzingen smartly played the ball across the face of goal, finding a waiting Roenpage, who slotted the ball into the side netting past a diving keeper. The goal really opened the game as it wasn’t much later when the aforementioned Ricketts came diving across the 6-yard box on a free-kick taken by Roenpage to find the net with a beautiful header.
Momentum remained with the Lions and in the 70th minute, freshman forward Charlie Clarke found the back of the goal for his AAC leading 12th goal of the season. Joe Goreham played a ball to the feet of Clarke, who caught the Truett keeper off his line and smartly chipped the ball just out of the keeper’s reach.
Lion Head Soccer Coach Drew Courtney was ecstatic after the win but also looked ahead: “I’m very happy for our guys, especially our seniors! It is rewarding for us to win the regular season championship as we have worked hard all year to improve and get to this point. Now we must look ahead to the opportunity before us. Postseason play presents a new challenge for us and we realize the importance of each game.”
The Lions finish the season with a record of 11-4-2 and an 8-0-1 record in Appalachian Athletic Conference earning the title of Regular Season Conference Champions.
Appalachian Athletic Conference play begins on Wednesday, November 4th with the play-in games and the Lions will place host in the quarter-final round at Bryan College on Saturday, November 7. Stay tuned to bryanlions.com as well as Twitter (@bryanathletics) and Facebook (Bryan College Athletics) for all the up-to-date information.
Written by Taylor Hasty ’06, athletic director.