Men’s soccer advances to GSAC finals

Men’s soccer beats Westmont. Concordia is up next in the GSAC Championship game.



Sophomore forward Stephen Tanquary struggles out of the grips of a Westmont defender during their game on November 9. Biola defeated Westmont, earning a victory with a final score of 2-1. The men advance to the GSAC championship, facing Concordia on November 16. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Tyler Gunhus, Writer

After a solid 2-1 semifinal win over Westmont College this past Saturday, men’s soccer is headed back to the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship for the second time in three years.

And their opponent is no stranger.

Saturday’s showdown against Concordia University Irvine will be a rematch of the 2011 GSAC Championship game where Biola won their second conference title in program history.

After going down 2-0 in the title game two years ago, forward Marco Ruvalcaba scored two second-half goals and assisted Carlos Ballesteros in overtime to bring home the hardware for Biola.

Ballesteros, now a senior, is one of just four players left from the 2011 squad, which also includes senior defenders Scott Hayes and Kevin Kiser, as well as junior midfielder Sava Pantic.

Following the 2011 season, the Eagles were forced into a rebuilding mode after losing five seniors, including All-American goalkeeper Aaron Fenlason.

The team struggled to find a similar groove through last year, and despite a GSAC opening round overtime victory against The Master’s College, Biola fell in the semifinals to San Diego Christian College.

The 2013 season, however, looks to be more like 2011 than 2012.


After installing women’s coach Todd Elkins as the men’s head coach in early spring, the Eagles put together a solid lineup. The on-field maturation of players like Ballesteros, Hayes, Kiser, as well as striker Daniel Chew, appears to be the similar leadership that lead the Eagles to the title in 2011.

Add in sophomore goalkeeper JT Addington, whose 10 shutouts over the regular season eclipse the six put up by Fenlason in 2011, and you’ve got a recipe for a championship.

The Eagles have definitely had their ups and downs throughout the season. After their first loss of the season on Oct. 5, Biola went on to drop a second straight game, this time to Arizona Christian University, who finished next to last in the GSAC standings.

Following the defeats, Biola went on to blow out Westmont at home 4-0 to get back on track. They finished the regular season with six-straight wins and outscored their opponents 16-0.

The Eagles entered Saturday’s match against Westmont having not given up a goal in over 450 minutes. That streak was broken in the 22nd minute when the Warriors got on the board and took a 1-0 lead.

Biola had a flurry of opportunities to take, equalize and retake the lead, but several shots from Chew came off the cross bar or flew just over.

With just over a minute until halftime, Kiser sent a free kick into the box and found Chew, who redirected it past the advancing keeper to draw even at one.

The Eagles had several opportunities to put the game away in the second half, but it wasn’t until the 87th minute that they secured the win. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Tanquary blew past the right defender and slotted the ball past the keeper to take Biola to the championship.

“Westmont was a really tough game. They’re a very organized side, and the most important thing for us was to find a way to beat them,” junior midfielder Steve Day said. “After going a goal down, it’s really encouraging to know that against a really organized side being a goal down, we have what it takes to grind out a victory and find a way to win.”

By the time the Concordia game rolls around this Saturday, Biola will have gone an entire month without a loss. The streak could very well continue, seeing as Biola shutout Concordia 3-0 during their last encounter.

“Not a whole lot changes in preparation for a championship game. Having the continuity of just continuing to do what we’ve been doing all year long is the best way to prepare,” Day said.

A win, and the Eagles clinch an automatic berth in the NAIA tournament. A loss, and the Eagles have to cross their fingers and hope for an at-large bid.

There’s good reason to believe this team won’t be finished after Saturday. Now they just have to go out and prove it.

“We’re confident, but we’re definitely not over-confident,” Day said. “We’re very aware of how good a team they are, and I think they are as equally aware and respect how good a team we are.”

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