Men’s soccer advances to GSAC finals

The men’s soccer team beat Fresno Pacific University and Vanguard University to advance to the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game.


Tyler Otte

Biola Jr. Jake Springer blocks Vanguard Jr. Kyle O’Brien at the away game in Costa Mesa on Nov. 2, 2011. Biola dominated with the final score 1-0, eliminating Vanguard from the GSAC quarter finals. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES

Anders Corey, Writer


Upset wins over Fresno Pacific and Vanguard set table for GSAC championship

The Biola men’s soccer team surged into the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game with a pair of 1-0 upset victories over Vanguard University and Fresno Pacific University.

The Eagles started off the GSAC playoffs with their second straight victory over the Vanguard Lions on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The men had defeated the Lions the prior Saturday, Oct. 29, in the final match of the regular season to clinch the fifth seed in the playoffs and set up the rematch with fourth-seeded Vanguard.

The first half of the match went quietly for both teams, with neither able to get on the board. The Lions outshot the Eagles in the half 6-4 with Vanguard keeper Cody Adams recording two saves, but none by Biola senior goalkeeper Aaron Fenlason.

Early in the second half, the chippy game took its toll on the Eagles when sophomore forward Daniel Chew was hit with a red card in the 55th minute during a dustup following a hard foul.

Ruvalcaba’s goal wins game for Eagles

Playing a man down did not hold off Biola for long though, as senior forward Marco Ruvalcaba corralled a bouncing ball and drilled it into the far side of the net to give the Eagles a late 1-0 advantage in the 77th minute.

Ruvalcaba’s team-leading seventh goal of the season was plenty of support for the Eagles’ defense, which completed the shutout without senior defender Cody Shelton who was serving a one game suspension due a red card in the previous game. In both games against Vanguard, Biola was able to shut down Kevin Cornwall, the second highest scorer in the GSAC.

“In both matches against Vanguard, we knew Cody would have to play Kevin [Cornwall] physically hard,” head coach Bryan Kuderman said. “This worked well, however, not having Cody in our second match. We relied on Bryan Dunckel to do the work and he did just that.”

Cornwall plays a large role in Vanguard’s game plan, but Biola found ways to limit his chances.

“Every ball from the Vanguard defense and midfield goes to Cornwall,” freshman midfielder Sava Pantic said. “It was a great job from Kevin Kiser and Bryan Dunckel. Cornwall was without a chance.”

Eagles win on goal from unlikely hero

In their second round match against Fresno Pacific, the Eagles knocked off the top-seeded team in the tournament in thrilling fashion with a late goal from freshman defender Collins Egbe to advance to the finals.

The match began slowly as neither team was able to put pressure on the opposing defense with each tallying four shots in the first half.

The Sunbirds came out of the half firing and brought more players forward to challenge the Eagle defense. Biola fought off the attack, led by Fenlason who recorded three saves on the day. Fenlason earned his third GSAC Defensive Player of the Week award for his play against Fresno Pacific and Vanguard.

Egbe approached Kuderman in the 77th minute and told his coach if he was put back in the game then he would score.

In the 84th minute the Eagles were finally able to break through with Egbe coming through on his promise to score, heading in a corner kick from Ruvalcaba for the game-winning goal.

“We played very well defensively again, shutting Fresno out for only the second time all year,” Kuderman said. “We minimized [GSAC player of the year] Paul Islas’ time on the ball and then scored late on a set piece. Everything is going to plan and the players believe in the plan.”

Eagles look forward to GSAC championship game

The Eagles move on to face Concordia University in the GSAC championship game on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Irvine at 2 p.m.

“The key will be scoring first and denying them chances at our goal for as long as possible,” Kuderman said in anticipation of Saturday’s championship match. “They are a very high scoring team so the longer we can deny them, the more frustrated they will become and the more our confidence will grow.”

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