Two days before it plays in the Sun Belt Championship Game as the East Division's…
After starting the season with only five points through the first five conference matches, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team goes undefeated the rest of the way to earn a top four seed in the 2023 SAC Men’s Soccer Tournament.
Thanks to his team-high eighth goal of the season, Adrian Martina buried a penalty kick in the 15th minute for the match’s lone score and give the Bears the 1-0 result.
After recording a season-high six saves against Lincoln Memorial back on Oct. 28, Juan Basabe continues to break through the glass ceiling with his new season-best eight saves.
By producing another clean sheet, it marks the third consecutive shutout to finish out the regular season. It becomes the first time since the 2006 season that the Bears have notched three straight shutouts against conference foes.
Now having clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming SAC Men’s Soccer Tournament, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team will host a quarterfinal match against a familiar opponent, No. 6 Catawba. With the match being scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 5, it will be the second match between the two programs in five days.
With Martina’s penalty kick, the graduate student increased his points total to 21. He becomes the first LR player since Victor Cascon, who had 23 points in 2018, to cross the 20-point threshold in a single season. Three of Martina’s goals have come from the penalty spot. His other two came in the first month of the season against Young Harris (Sept. 3) and Mars Hill (Sept. 23).
Catawba controlled the shots battle throughout the night with a 17-10 advantage. The Indians also out-shot the Bears in the both halves with a 8-5 edge in the first and a 9-5 difference in the second. Three of the four yellow cards shown to the Bears came in the final 15 minutes. Harri Rowe (78′), Hector Nieto (83′) and Martina (88′) all joined Jaheim Smith (29′) for bookings in the match.
Catawba had three different players tally multiple shots on goal. Sebastia Cerda-Tous, August Joensson and Joe Bennett each had two shots on goal for the Indians.
The all-time series is tied between these two programs, 22-22-4. LR has now won three-straight matches and nine out of the last 10 matches over Catawba. In the Bears’ last four wins over Catawba in Salisbury, N.C, each match has been decided by one goal. By earning a top four seed, the Bears have now hosted at least one SAC Tournament match for four-straight postseasons.
This marks the second-straight season that the Bears have shutout three-straight opponents. Back in 2022, LR had clean sheets against Barry (2-0), Lincoln Memorial (3-0) and Tusculum (1-0) from Sept. 4 through Sept. 10.
The Bears are 6-4-5 overall, 6-2-3 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team will be the No. 3 seed in the 2023 SAC Men’s Soccer Tournament. They will host a quarterfinal match at 6 p.m. against No. 6 seed Catawba from the Soccer Field at the Moretz Sports Athletic Campus.