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Saints Punch Ticket to National Championships

11/09/2012 – The men's soccer team defeated Cornerstone in a shootout to claim the automatic berth in the NAIA National Championships starting next week. The Saints will now await an opponent and destination for their next game which will be contested on November 17th. The Saints are now 13-5-3 on the season, while the Golden Eagles season ends with a mark of 14-4-2.

The Saints offense jumped out front early as Casey Higgason headed in a cross by Michael Gagnon in the second minute of play to snag the early 1-0 advantage. For Higgason it was his 13th goal of the season. The Golden Eagles would find the equalizer ten minutes later as Brian Nimmo converted a shot attempt on a set up by Matt Osorio at the 11:47 mark of the first half. The game remained tied until the 33rd minute when Gagnon once again set the table. This time Tyler Fischer was the beneficiary as he recorded his 26th goal of the season. The Saints took a one goal lead into the locker room and realized they were 45 minutes away from the promised land.

Unfortunately the time did not move fast enough and the promise land would have to wait. Cornerstone tied the match with under seven minutes to play to tie the score at two a piece. Brian Nimmo once again proved to be the difference maker for the Golden Eagles as he scored his second goal of the game. Neither team mounted a late game rally and the national bid would have to be decided during the overtime periods. The two ten minute extra sessions came and went and a winner had still not been decided.

Now picture this. Under the lights, hundreds of fans from CU and AQ on their feet and a shootout to determine the WHAC representative at the National Championships. Most would attest - it doesn't get any better than this.

The first four shooters for each squad came up, did their job and jogged back to midfield. The story took a drastic turn during the fifth rotation as Cornerstone's Jake Stanko was denied by Aquinas goalie Mike Sweers. The Saints were now one make away from the before mentioned promise land. In steps senior Billy Cremeans. Before you knew it the ball had been kicked and found its way into the back of the net. Coach Veal's crew had done it. The men's soccer team claimed the WHAC Tournament Championships and had punched their ticket to the National Championships.

After being so close so many times before, the Saints had finally done it. The team, the coaches and the faithful Saint fans rushed the field and realized they were in the promised land.

Congratulations to Coach Veal, his staff and his athletes on a job well done. GO SAINTS!!!

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