From USAO Sports Info.
Justin Tinder, Sports Information Director
Chickasha – USAO celebrated another Sooner Athletic Conference Championship as its men’s soccer team turned back a spirited challenge from visiting Southwestern Christian to emerge with a 3-1 victory Thursday night in front of a large and boisterous crowd.
The SAC tournament title was the fifth for veteran coach Jimmy Hampton and USAO’s third consecutive. USAO previously won tournament titles in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. The sixth-ranked Drovers now 19-2 on the year will await their next opponent when the NAIA National Tournament berths are released Monday. USAO has made seven consecutive trips to the national tournament since 2009.
Senior Liam Madden whose goal in the 75th minute put the game in safe keeping for the Drovers with a 3-1 cushion joined his other teammates in a rousing celebration.
“It’s our goal every year to win the conference regular season, win the tournament and make it to nationals,” Madden said. “We’ve done the first two now it’s on to the next one. We’ve done well. We played against some good teams. Very proud of our guys.”
Madden was joined in the goal-scoring department by freshman teammate Alex Breadman who opened the game with a score in the 24th minute on a pass from senior Stephen Owusu. Breadman added his second later in the game’s 51st minute that broke a 1-1 tie. Breadman settled a laser-guided free kick by Niall Burley that deflected off the cross bar and landed at his feet to put USAO in front to stay at 2-1.
The Drovers ended up outshooting their opponents by a 20-14 margin. Austen Parker collected the win in goal for USAO coming up with one eight saves including a pair of difficult ones as SCU blasted a couple of doorstep shots.
Senior Kyle Maxwell, who along with his other senior teammates have had incredible success as Drover soccer players, summed up his feelings this way.
“Every year we have had success, but this year is something special because of being a senior,” Maxwell said. “I’m proud of my teammates. The coaches have been on us all year to work hard and do our very best. Tonight we had the duty to win our battles as individuals and win as a team. We train early every morning to prepare for situations like this.”