by Jules Gonsoulin
The most successful men’s soccer season in Millsaps history concluded Saturday with the team’s 4-2 loss to Washington University in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. For the seniors, the loss ends an incredibly memorable season featuring the Majors’ first Southern Athletic Association championship, which the men won on Harper Davis Field.
Last weekend’s contest was much closer than the final score indicates, as the Majors had plenty of changes to equalize late in the game, including a tying goal which was called back, in what Coach Steve Voltz called the “critical moment” of the matchup.
Davis Cole and Ryan Sproule of Washington scored two goals in the 20th and 21st minutes to give the Bears an early lead, but Millsaps senior Matt Crooker responded quickly with a goal off a Nico Roth assist. The Bears answered right back four minutes later. Chris Rieger drew a penalty inside the Millsaps box and capitalized on his penalty kick to bring the scoreline to 3-1 before halftime.
In the second half, the Majors mounted a furious rally. Sophomore and former SAA player of the week Alex Bourland scored in the 63rd minute off another assist from Roth to ignite the Millsaps offense. The rally was deflated when a game-tying goal was called back on an offsides call, however, and the Majors would not score again.
The Bears added a security goal in the 83rd minute with a Grant Baltes strike to bring the score to 4-2, which would prove to be the final tally.
While the Majors’ season ended with a loss, it was still the finest season in program history. The team finished with a 14-5 overall record, with an especially strong showing in the SAA tournament. The offense outscored their opponents 13-3 through three games to earn the program’s only SAA championship. The men look to come back stronger next year and pursue a deeper run in the NCAA tournament.