From Start to Finish, Sailfish Men's Soccer Claims NCCAA National Title
December 4, 2010
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
KISSIMMEE, Fla.- Coming in as the #6-seed, not many may have expected the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s soccer team to make a run at the NCCAA National Championship in 2010. That dream however was realized when the Sailfish defeated Cedarville University 2-0 on Saturday evening to claim the program’s first-ever NCCAA title at Austin Tindall Park as hundreds of Sailfish fans made the short trek north to cheer on the Blue and White in action.
Having finished runner-up for the top prize in 2007 while making appearances the last five seasons overall under head coach Jose Gomez, the Fish finally earned the title by performing at the top of their game when it mattered most.
After a scoreless first-half between the two determined sides, the Sailfish claimed the win with a pair of goals early in the second-half as sophomore Charlie Hubbard posted the first score 30 seconds into the half while sophomore Gabe Carneiro received a long throw-in from freshman Tyler Sanders to add the insurance goal in the 52nd minute.
Although the Yellowjakets would never give up, peppering the Sailfish with eight second-half shots, the strong back-line of PBA including Andrew Kanarr, Lewis Thompson, Chris Karafilov, and Sanders were joined by another fantasic effort by PBA goalkeeper Jonathan Strunk.
After a scoreless first-half that featured a 4-3 shots advantage to the Blue and White, both teams would come back out of the lockeroom hoping to claim a score and hold on for the championship.
It would be the Fish who would strike quickly as the whistle sounded when senior Kyle Crouse made a move toward goal drawing the keeper out which allowed Crouse to lay a pass back to his teammate Hubbard. Hubbard would set up a long shot toward the open goal that appeared destined to find the net only to see a Cedarville defender connect with the ball at the last second as his last effort was too late as the ball crossed the line and in for the 1-0 PBA lead.
The large crowd that was filled with Sailfish fans from West Palm Beach and other places erupted as Hubbard was chased down by his elated teammates with PBA taking the lead.
Although the Hubbard goal was a bit unique in how the ball found the back of the net, the second Sailfish goal would be more simple and an easy insurance score. After a long ball went out on the Yellowjackets near the corner, Sanders deposited a long over-hand throw-in over the top of the CU defense and to the feet of Carneiro who easily poked the ball past the keeper for a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
Now blessed with a multi-goal advantage, the Sailfish defense would settle in for what would be a barrage of CU tries only for the scoreboard to remain zero for the Yellowjackets as the final horn sounded and the Sailfish mobbed their teammates at center field.
CU had breezed through their first two matches of the tournament with consecutive 4-0 victories including knocking off #1-seed Covenant College on Thursday evening to meet PBA for the championship.
After the match concluded it was announced that seniors Josh Sharpe, Kanarr, and Crouse were joined on the All-Tournament team by Tumi Magdalela. Kanarr was named the Defensive Player of the Tournament while Magdalela brought home the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.