Canton, OH – Sometimes life makes you go through adversity so you can become stronger. After suffering a heartbreaking loss in the PAC championship two weeks ago, the Geneva College men’s soccer team was not about to suffer the same fate at the NCCAA East Regional final. A scoreless tie against Malone University throughout regulation and a pair of overtimes was finally decided on penalty kicks with Geneva connecting on four and the Pioneers on just two. When senior Jake McCracken found the net in the fourth round of penalty kicks, the Golden Tornadoes were officially on their way to Kissimmee, FL for the NCCAA national tournament beginning on November 30th.
Geneva defeated Houghton College in the East region semi-finals on Wednesday night to advance to Saturday’s final. The Golden Tornadoes had defeated Malone 3-1 earlier in the year in Beaver Falls and were looking for a similar result on Saturday however this time around was not nearly as easy.
Neither team had a decided advantage in the match but both teams had chances to score. Freshman goalkeeper Bryan Butler played extremely well for Geneva with nine saves during regulation and overtime. However, the biggest save of the day came on Malone’s first penalty kick attempt that gave the Golden Tornadoes an early edge in the penalty kick session. “Bryan was outstanding all day,” said head coach Gary Dunda. “I am so proud of all of our guys. This has been a very long and grinding season and it is just very rewarding to have all of the effort pay off. We are all very excited to have the chance to represent Geneva on the national stage.”
Following Butler’s save in the first round of penalty kicks, Geneva got PK goals from Josh Mann, Jeb Nash and Jon Mathoslah. After Malone fired its fourth attempt over the cross bar all that was left was McCracken’s game winning heroics and Geneva’s leading goal scorer and Kyle Rote national finalist made no mistake in sending the Golden Tornadoes to the national tournament. “I can’t think of anyone I would rather have holding our fate than Jake McCracken. He has been the face of this program for two or three years now and it was just very fitting to have him send us to the national tournament.”
The Golden Tornadoes will find out their national tournament opponents by Monday following the selection process. Geneva will open up with a first round match on Wednesday, November 30th. The Golden Tornadoes will take their 14-5-3 overall record into the national tournament.
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).