TYLER, Tex. (Cowley College Athletics) – Facing a Louisiana State University-Eunice team that is not your ordinary No. 11-seed, the second-seeded Cowley College men’s soccer team pulled out a hard-fought 1-0 victory in the opening game of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament played Monday afternoon in Tyler, Texas.
Cowley, playing in Pool B, will face seventh-seeded Arizona Western Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
After a scoreless first half on Monday, Cowley kept the pressure on the Bengals. With just over 12 minutes gone by in the second half, LSU-Eunice goalkeeper Diego Montoya made a pair of diving saves before Hideto Gondo sent a beautiful crossing pass that was headed in by Tensei Sakaue to give Cowley the 1-0 lead. The goal by Sakaue was just his second of the season, but could not have come at a better time for the Tigers.
Less than two minutes later, Cowley dodged a bullet as Jose Escobar had a point-blank shot saved by Tiger goalkeeper Rafael Furlani. Cowley would continue to control the game as they held on for its second 1-0 win of the season.
“The guys did a good job of pressuring them the entire game and made them tired down the stretch,” Cowley head coach Ruy Vaz said.
The victory was the second national tournament win in the history of the Tiger men’s soccer program as Furlani notched his eighth shutout of the season.
Cowley is now 18-0 on the season, while the Bengals fall to 8-5-2. The 18 wins are a new school-record for the Tigers, surpassing the program’s 17-win season in 2018.
LSU-Eunice will face Arizona Western (18-1) on Tuesday prior to Cowley’s matchup with the Matadors on Wednesday.
“We will use the day off to recover and will then need to be ready to get right back at it,” Vaz said. “Arizona Western plays a similar style to us, so we will need to be prepared for a battle.”