Point Park wins conference tournament title, headed to NAIAs again
Nov. 9, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Point Park University Men's Soccer: 2013 KIAC/GCAC Tournament Champions. Pioneers beat Asbury, 2-1, at Highmark Stadium on Nov. 9, 2013. Photo by Evan Schall.
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University men's soccer team is going back to the NAIA national tournament for the second year in a row as back-to-back conference tournament champions.
Point Park (12-6-1, 4-0-0 KIAC) defeated Asbury (Ky.) University, 2-1, in the KIAC/GCAC Tournament Finals on Saturday at Highmark Stadium to win its second conference title in a row and punch an automatic ticket to the NAIA national tournament beginning Nov. 23 at campus sites.
The 16 first-round pairings and host sites in the 32-team NAIA national tournament will be announced Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. CT by the national office. The 16 opening round winners advance to the NAIA national championship final site Dec. 2-7 at Montgomery, Ala.
No. 1 seed Point Park erased a 1-0, halftime lead by No. 3 seed Asbury (11-8, 2-2 KIAC) for the comeback win in the championship game. The Eagles broke a scoreless tie when Billy Congleton took a shot from 35 yards out and lofted the ball down the middle of the field in the 34th minute and a 1-0 lead.
But Point Park turned up the attack after halftime to ensure that its season would not end. Point Park, which held a 20-7 edge in shots for the game, led in that category, 12-2, in the second half. Keeping the pressure on, Point Park scored two goals in the second half to get the comeback win.
Ousman Jaiteh, a junior from West Africa, scored the tying goal in the 59th minute after taking an assist from Jonty Loukes. Asbury had trouble clearing the ball, and Loukes put a shot on goal. The ball was deflected over to Jaiteh near the left post, and he found the back of the net.
Having earned themselves a new game at 1-1, Point Park was eager for more. The Pioneers worked the ball to Lucas Silva around the six, and Asbury keeper John Burns came out to take the ball away. But Burns knocked down Silva and was called for a foul in the penalty area.
Point Park was awarded a penalty kick, and left back Frazer McKinlay was called upon to take it. Burns dived to his left, and McKinlay, a senior from Scotland, put it on the ground to his right for the eventual game-winner with 22 minutes left.
The Point Park defense took good care of the 2-1 lead to clinch the second conference title in school history to go with last year's title. The Pioneers beat Asbury in the KIAC/GCAC Tournament Finals, 5-4, in 2012.
The 12th win of the season is significant because it ties the Pioneers with the program's all-time record for wins set in 2011 (12-5-1) and 1998 (12-5). A victory in the national tournament would set a team record for victories in a season.
Point Park is now 11-0 all time versus KIAC teams. The Pioneers have gone 4-0 KIAC in each of the last two regular seasons and is a combined 3-0 versus KIAC teams in the KIAC/GCAC Tournament the last two years. Point Park has won nine of its last 10 games since Oct. 1.
For information on the NAIA national tournament, click here.