A Pair of Karafilov Goals Send PBA to the NCCAA Championship Game

Written By: Lindsay Oren, Sports Information Graduate Assistant

Freshman Chris Karafilov's two goals helped elevate the Fish to a 3-2 victory over Judson University in the NCCAA Semi-finals. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.Freshman Chris Karafilov's two goals helped elevate the Fish to a 3-2 victory over Judson University in the NCCAA Semi-finals. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

KISSIMMEE, Fla.- After holding off the #3 seeded Southwest Christian University in their opening match of the 2010 NCCAA National Tournament, the #6 seeded Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s soccer team were prepared for a physical re-match with the team responsible for knocking off their chances at the championship game last year, Judson University. However, the Sailfish would return the favor this afternoon as they defeated the Eagles in a thrilling 3-2 battle in the NCCAA semi-final game.

The Fish were able to get into a steady rhythm from the first whistle, peppering off several shots early on and winning the advantage in corner kick opportunities during the first period by a 4-2 margin.

Given the history between these two teams in the National Tournament, PBA’s bench understandably erupted when senior forward Kyle Crouse slotted their first goal in the 11th minute of action to take the early 1-0 lead. Fed by fellow teammate Evan Singlar from the far left side, Crouse sidestepped a few defenders and blasted the near right corner for the early advantage.

Both teams appeared to settle down throughout the remainder of the half as both JU and PBA saw equal opportunities in shots (6-6). What appeared to be a 1-0 lead for the Sailfish entering halftime quickly changed as the Eagles’ Bill Kagaras served teammate Rafa Heck with a wide open look to the left corner, settling the score at 1-1 at the end of first period.

With a new 45 to play, both teams recognized the intense battle that would come in the second half. Much like the start of the game, the Fish would be the squad to jump on the board early as freshman defender Chris Karafilov split multiple defenders before blasting an uncontested shot from outside the 18’ to the bottom right corner of the Eagles’ net, lifting PBA to the 2-1 lead.

Not even 30 seconds later, Judson would answer right back with a marvel of their own as Corey Burke laced the near corner from 16 yards out, knotting the score at 2-2 and keeping the Eagles in the running.

With a 6-3 shot advantage over JU in the second half, the Sailfish kept pushing the offensive attack in the final period. Once again the Blue and White capitalized on their opportunities as Karafilov blistered his second goal of the game in the 76th minute from the top of the 18’, knocking off the #2 seeded Judson and sending PBA to the NCCAA National Championship final.

The Sailfish back line was paced by solid play from veteran defenders Andrew Kanarr, Lewis Thompson, and sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Strunk who earned the start and 3 saves on the day during 90 minutes of action.

The Sailfish (14-6) will await to play the winner between the #1 seeded Covenant Christian College and #5 seed Cedarville University. The Championship final is to be played on Saturday, December 4th at 5:30 pm at the Austin-Tindall Regional Park in Kissimmee, Florida.

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