Statesmen Use Big First Half to Advance in Tournament

William Penn used a big first half to advance to the semi-finals of the Heart of America Conference tournament.

Oskaloosa–Ethan Martinez (Fr., Kansas City, Kan., Business Management) posted his first career hat trick and Eduardo Bonatto (Sr., Rio Grande, Brazil, Business Management) set a new standard for offensive excellence as the duo led the William Penn men’s soccer team to a 5-3 victory over #7 seed MidAmerica Nazarene in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals Friday.

With the win, the second-seeded Statesmen (15-4) advance to next Tuesday’s semifinal round where they will host #3 seed Grand View (#15 in NAIA) at Drost Field at 6 p.m. WPU took down the Vikings 6-5 in overtime back on September 24 in Des Moines.

The victory also breaks the program’s single-season record of 14, set by last year’s squad.

The team record was not the only one to fall on Friday. WPU’s top player and captain also had a memorable evening. Bonatto put the navy and gold on the scoreboard in the 13th minute, netting a goal off a pass from Bernardo Lima (Sr., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Exercise Science). The senior’s goal is his 17th, which breaks the single-season record, set previously by Joe Druppel (2004) and Diego Navarro (2017).

Coupled with an assist later in the contest, Bonatto now has 41 points this fall, which sets a new record as well. Druppel also held that mark with 39 in 2004.

Martinez then took center stage, first scoring unassisted at the 17:47 mark. He dribbled the ball nearly half the length of the pitch before finally firing a bullet into the far side netting. The freshman had a little help from Bonatto 63 seconds later to make it 3-0 in favor of the home team. The assist is the seventh of the campaign for Bonatto.

Martinez, who now has nine goals, finished off his hat trick–the third of the year for the Statesmen–in the 26th minute as he tracked down a long kick from Jonathan Riley (Jr., St. Neots, England, Exercise Science) and buried it. Riley’s assist is his first of 2019.

Fast-forward three minutes and Lima got into the action. The senior was tackled inside the box, resulting in a penalty-kick try which he was allowed to take. He took full advantage of his first opportunity at the free attempt in 2019, putting it home for his seventh goal of the season. His earlier assist was also his team-leading ninth.

It was all coming up roses for the Statesmen, but the Pioneers (6-10-2) were not ready to throw in the towel. The visitors scored in the 30th minute, but WPU was still in total control with a 5-1 advantage at halftime.

MNU matched WPU with a PK goal of its own at the 53:06 mark, but quickly made life very difficult for itself as a player earned his second yellow card (resulting in a red card) and the visiting crew was down a man.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Pioneers continued to press and things got more than a little interesting as they produced a short-handed goal in the 63rd minute to cut the margin to two at 5-3.

MidAmerica Nazarene basically sealed its fate in losing another player to a second yellow card (the contest featured 11 yellow cards), but somehow was still a thorn in the home squad’s side. Fortunately, William Penn, which owned a 22-17 edge in shots, kept its foe off the board the remainder of the night to preserve the victory and advance in the league tourney.

Austin Munoz (Sr., Harrisville, Utah, Sports Management) earned the keeper victory, tallying five saves.

The team’s semifinal berth is the first for William Penn since joining the Heart in 2015 and the first overall since 2013.

“This was a huge win for our men tonight,” Head Coach Jaymee Highcock said. “We started the game extremely well and followed the game plan to perfection. We had great intensity and could have scored even more goals.”

“Unfortunately, once we got our five-goal lead, we became complacent and gave away a few very easy scores,” Highcock added. “We were very slow after halftime and struggled against the 10 and eventually nine men they had on the field. However, we got the win and I am delighted in that. Once again breaking the school record is a huge achievement and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished this season. We have an amazing group and they have earned everything they have gotten this fall. They are motivated and excited to show Grand View how good we can be on our home field.”

Posted by on Nov 9 2019. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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