BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — It was arguably the most important victory in McPherson College men’s soccer history.
The Bulldogs made the long (191 miles) trip into Oklahoma on Wednesday and handed the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, Oklahoma Wesleyan, a shocking 2-0 setback in the semifinals of the KCAC Postseason Tournament.
Mac had never defeated a No. 1-ranked team in the country.
“What a monumental win for our program and our institution," Mac coach Doug Quint said. "I'm so proud of this group and blessed to be a part of it. Tonight, we executed our game plan against them to a T. We were brilliant defensively and, offensively, we capitalized on our chances. What a performance by senior Nick Torres tonight on the biggest stage. Couldn't be more proud of him. Such a gamer.”
Oklahoma Wesleyan had entered the game 18-0-1, the tie coming against John Brown University. The Eagles will still make the national tournament because they won the regular-season title as the KCAC automatically gets two schools in the playoffs.
Mac made the most of its limited opportunities. Even though it was outshot 13-2 in the first half, a goal by Chris Kelly, off an assist by Torres, gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead to take into the break.
The Kelly-Torres combination worked again in the second half, but this time it was Torres who scored off a Kelly assist.
The Eagles had numerous chances, but Mac goalie Arthur Lamparter and the defense kept them off the board. Oklahoma Wesleyan had a whopping 31 shots to give 5 for Mac, but it was like there was an invisible shield over the OW goal.
Lamparter had six saves in the game.
The Bulldogs are now 14-4-2 and just one win away from making the national tournament. They travel on Saturday to Wichita to take on Friends, which also pulled off a stunner on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed Kansas Wesleyan. The game has a 7 p.m. start.