Behind another impressive rushing effort and a defense that held Valdosta State to two yards…
For its second-straight NCAA Tournament, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team fell short in penalty kicks, this time dropping to Clayton State, 1-1 (4-3), in the decisive shootout.
The Lakers found the late equalizer in the 89th minute of regulation as Gonzalo LaChica got lost in the Bears defense and converted for his fourth goal of the season.
For a majority of the second half, the Bears were sitting with a one-goal lead after Jonas Moos headed in his first goal of the season to give the No. 9 seed the 1-0 lead late in the opening half.
In the penalty shootout, both sides entered the fifth round with a 3-3 tie. However, Oliver Gardner had his attempt saved to give Clayton State the chance to win the match. That is exactly what Robbie Christie did as he buried the winning penalty kick to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and a date with No. 1 seeded Limestone.
The Lakers applied the pressure in the second half by recording 12 shots; Clayton State ultimately out-shot Lenoir-Rhyne, 20-12. In the two overtime periods, the Lakers out-shot the Bears, 5-2. Six of the seven shots came in the first overtime period.
The corner kicks were a tale of two halves. LR had all three of the corner kicks in the first half, while Clayton State had all four of the corner kicks in the second half. Each team had a corner kick in the opening overtime period.
There were only three yellow cards shown throughout the match, with the first one not being shown until the 80th minute to Clayton State’s Mohamed Mahrous. The Bears picked up the next two with Hector Nieto and Raul Canas, in the 88th and 89th minute, respectively.
Nine LR players appeared in all 110 minutes of the match.
Clayton State leads the all-time series, 4-0-1. This match marked the first time these two programs squared off in the NCAA Tournament. LR is now 0-3-2 in their past five appearances to the NCAA Tournament. Both ties have ended in penalty kick defeats. The Bears past NCAA Tournament victory came against Tusculum, 3-1, on Nov. 10, 2016. LR has a 1-3-2 record in neutral site games in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Soccer Team ends its 2023 campaign with a 7-5-6 overall record and a 6-2-3 record in the South Atlantic Conference. This year also brought the program’s ninth appearance to the NCAA Tournament.