Kissimmee, FL - Not one player from the Geneva College men′s soccer team should′ve had his head down as they walked off of the field on Saturday night. The Golden Tornadoes suffered a 2-1 loss to top seeded California Baptist in the NCCAA national championship game. Geneva, which finished the season with a mark of 16-6-3, came into the tournament as the number seven seed and was given no chance to compete against seven scholarship programs on the national stage. The Golden Tornadoes are officially on the national map now after an incredible run through the first two rounds of the tournament before bowing out on a late goal in the championship match.
"I do believe we open some eyes down here," said head coach Gary Dunda. "Not many people knew much about Geneva College soccer a week ago and pretty much the entire field has a really good idea about how special this program is and how much heart everyone of these guys have on and off the soccer field. I could not be prouder of this team and of what we all accomplished this season."
Geneva has made a habit of coming up with dramatic finishes all season long. On Saturday night, it came within ten minutes of sending yet another game into overtime. California Baptist, the top seeded team in the tournament, opened the scoring with a tally in the 17th minute which held up until early in the second half. Jake McCracken, who scored a goal in each of Geneva′s three national tournament games, put a head on a corner kick cross from Jeb Nash in the 53rd minute to tie the score on one of Geneva′s four shots in the match. Geneva managed just two shots on goal in the match but McCracken made his header count as the Golden Tornadoes tied the game.
California Baptist ended the Cinderella run with the game winner with just over nine minutes left in the match and this time around the Golden Tornadoes ran out of magic and had to settle for second place at the NCCAA national tournament. It was the first time Geneva was competing at the NCCAA national tournament since the late 1990′s and it was the sixth time overall Geneva had advanced to the nationals including a championship in 1994.
McCracken′s goal was his 15th of the season and 34th of his career. The four-year starter registered the third highest single season goal total in school history while finishing his brilliant career as Geneva′s third leading goal scorer. Geneva′s 16 victories in 2011 matched the third highest single season total for any Geneva team since the inception of the program in 1972.
"It′s a hard pill to swallow right now but over time we will be able to look back at what all was accomplished this year and be very proud of our season. This will be a team that I as a coach will certainly never forget."
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).