Five years may not seem like a long time, but it felt like an eternity for McPherson College men’s soccer coach Doug Quint.
The Bulldogs captured their first KCAC championship since 2009 here Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over arch-rival Bethany College.
Mac finished KCAC play 8-0-1 and shares the title with Kansas Wesleyan, a team it tied with 1-1 early in the season. But the Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed by virtue of the tiebreaker procedure that is employed.
“It’s been too long,” said Quint, who was remarkably calm while his team celebrated madly after the tough victory. “This group of seniors, I just couldn’t be prouder of them. There’s certain guys that just deserve it, you want them to win a championship. Oscar Cortez and Tito Ruiz have been here for four years and they’ve been this close. It’s so satisfying to see them win.”
Bethany, a solid 5-2-2 in the KCAC, put up a good fight, but Mac’s Kevin Aka finally broke the scoring ice in the 61st minute. When Nick Torres took a Ruiz corner kick and put it in the net for a 2-0 lead, the Bulldogs gained confidence as their defense was not going to let the Swedes score on this day.
“What a great finish to a wonderful regular season for us," Quint said. "We played well again today, created a lot, but struggled to break a good Bethany team down. There is a lot of soccer left for us to pla,y but we are certainly going to enjoy this.”
Mac, 12-3-2 overall, gets some much-needed time off as it doesn’t begin postseason play until 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 at Topeka’s Hummer Park. That will be in the semifinals of the KCAC Tournament as Mac gets a first-round bye.
• Bethany women 2, McPherson College 1 — The Bulldogs’ season ended in overtime with a heart-breaking loss to the Swedes.
The Bulldogs finished 3-6 in the KCAC and 5-12-1 overall.
The game was tied at 1-all at the half. Jessica Dominguez’s penalty kick was the Mac score after Sarah Henderson had tallied for Bethany.
In the OT, the Swedes scored 6:23 in on a goal by Christina Noonan, who had missed an earlier shot in the extra session.
“After I missed the first shot over the goal, I knew that the game was on me and that I had to make up for it," Noonan said. "When I kicked the second one I wasn't sure if it was going to go in, but once it went over the goalkeeper's head I was really excited and relieved."
Bethany is now 7-9-2, 5-2-2 in the KCAC. Its season continues Saturday when it hosts Tabor in the KCAC Postseason Tournament.