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PBA Men's Soccer Opens Season with Shutout Victory Over Harding University

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications

Kyle Crouse (Pictured, Left) Backed Up a Chris Karafilov Goal With One of His Own on Saturday at Harding University. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Kyle Crouse (Pictured, Left) Backed Up a Chris Karafilov Goal With One of His Own on Saturday at Harding University. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

SEARCY, Ark.- After 80 minutes of scoreless play, the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s soccer team finally broke through against a pesky Harding University defense as the Sailfish put two goals in the back of the net in the final ten minutes to win their season opener on the road in Arkansas. Freshman Chris Karafilov collected a loose ball and put home the game-winner in the 81st minute as the Sailfish downed the Bisons on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Kyle Crouse would follow up Karafilov’s go-ahead goal with an insurance score just before the final whistle sounded as the Lakeland, Florida native received a long through ball from fellow senior teammate Tumi Magadalela that allowed the Sailfish striker to put in his first goal of the season.

Red-shirt sophomore Jonathan Strunk made his first career start in goal for PBA after learning behind departed senior and four-year starter Joe Yurchak the past few seasons. Strunk was solid in his debut with three saves and posted his first career shutout.

The Fish dominated the Bisons from a statistical standpoint although it came down to the final minutes for a victor to be decided. PBA outshot Harding 21-8 while also winning the corner kicks battle by a 10-1 margin. Harding earned four shots each half while PBA posted 11 in the first-half and 10 more in the second 45 minutes.

Having graduated a large senior class from last season, it has been the job of sixth-year head coach Jose Gomez and his coaching staff to mesh together all the new faces. Three of those newcomers cracked the starting lineup on opening day as transfer Lewis Thompson along with freshmen Evan Singlar and Tyler Sanders were in the starting 11. Other newcomers such as Andres Tuesta and Joel Julio performed off the bench along with Karafilov who posted the big score.

Having defeated Harding on their home-field in back-to-back seasons over Labor Day weekend, the Fish will hope for a similar result on Monday as they will take on Ouachita Baptist University to close out their weekend slate. PBA and OBU will take to the pitch on Monday, September 6th at 12 p.m.

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