(Mesa, AZ) The Park University women’s and men’s soccer teams continued to put itself in position for the first postseason berths for both teams as the women played to a 1-1 tie and the men won a must-win game 2-0 over Benedictine Mesa at Legacy Sports Park.
Both women’s teams are 5-3-2 in conference play but the Redhawks currently own the tiebreaker on record versus conference opponents in descending order. BENU tied both Embry Riddle and UC Merced while the Bucs lost to UC Merced and have yet to play Embry Riddle. The Bucs and Redhawks will watch the Soka match with Embry Riddle with heightened anticipation as an Embry Riddle win or tie will secure a tournament berth for both teams.
The men’s win eliminates BENU from playoff contention and vaults the Bucs into fifth place in the conference. They will now scoreboard watch this weekend as Saint Katherine and Simpson, the two teams behind them in the standings battle it out for the upper hand for the last spot in the standings. A Simpson win moves them into fifth place and would eliminate USK and secure a tournament berth for the Bucs. A USK win would put them tied with the Bucs in fifth place, but the Buccos own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Firebirds. In this scenario, the final game for all three teams could determine the final outcome.
Women’s Soccer – Park Gilbert 1, Benedictine Mesa 1
Benedictine Mesa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half on a shot by BENU’s Dahlia Alonzo which beat Park Gilbert goalkeeper Catherine Corlett top shelf. The Redhawks outshot the Bucs 4-1 in the first half with three shots on goal.
The Buccaneers made some half time adjustments and had much more forward pressure in the second half. The Bucs made a few different runs in an attempt to get the tying goal and they finally did it at 61:41 of the second half as Michelle Munoz made a run down the left side and slid a pass in front to senior Kaitlyn Aeppli who knocked in her first goal of the season. Aeppli is affectionately known as “wheels” by her coaches and teammates for her speed. She utilized those “wheels” to get herself in position past the Redhawk defense to be able to score the tying goal.
Neither team was able to get across the go ahead tally and the game ended knotted at 1-1.
BENU out shot the Bucs 9-4 and 7-1 in shots on goal, but the Bucs made their one shot count as it was the shot that tied the game. Park Gilbert had two corner opportunities to only one for BENU.
The women finish the season at home against Embry Riddle on Thursday, October 26 at 6 p.m. at Legacy Sports Park in Mesa, Ariz.
Men’s Soccer – Park Gilbert 2, Benedictine Mesa 0
The Bucs entered this contest knowing it was a must win. A win would put them in a strong position to make the conference tournament for the first time in school history.
AND THEY PLAYED LIKE IT. The Buccaneers put “Konstant” pressure on the Redhawks as they got goals from Konstantinos Hinteregger (’19) in the first half and a Konstantin Papanikolaou(’82) goal put the game on ice late in the second half.
Both teams were strong on the defensive end with Park Gilbert only allowing one shot on netminder Nicklas Lagesen who picked up his third clean sheet in five starts. Overall, the Buccaneers only allowed five shots total, although BENU did ring the left post on one of its shots.
Park Gilbert had seven total shots with four on goal with two scores. The Bucs managed to spread the wealth as all seven shots came from seven different players.
Park Gilbert had three corner set pieces and held BENU without a corner kick.
As with any rivalry contest, this one was physical as 12 yellow cards (7 BENU, 5 Park) and 1 red card (BENU) were issued between the two teams.
The Bucs have a non-conference game versus Stanton University on Tuesday, October 24 before closing out the regular season with Embry Riddle on Thursday, October 26 at 8:30 p.m.
Press Release courtesy of Park University Athletics – Preston English