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The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Diaz Saves PK to Seal Drover Victory

Laura Barrios Bardi
Angel Diaz is greeted by his estatic teammates after saving a PK in the first game of the Sooner Athletic Conference Playoffs.

USAO’s men’s soccer team traveled to McPherson, Kan. to play Central Christian College (CCC) Friday, Nov. 3. The game marked the beginning of the Sooner Athletics Conference (SAC) Men’s Soccer Playoffs. The Drovers, 6th seed, were seen as the underdogs in this match-up against CCC’s 3rd seed position in the conference. The Drovers came in confident coming in, with a four-game win streak, and looked to keep the ball rolling against the Tigers. 

The Drovers took first possession looking to work it up the field but had quickly turned it over.   

Possessions came and went with the Drovers maintaining the majority of control in the first ten minutes. The Drovers got penalized with a yellow card giving the Tigers a chance to score first, but the free kick was missed wide right.  

With the Drovers maintaining control of the game, Angelo Leendertse struck first putting up the first point of the game with 26 minutes in the half still to be played. Receiving a free kick with 13 seconds left the Tigers made one last attempt to tie but had their shot blocked, leading to the end of the half.  

Starting the second half, the Tigers started possession. However, the Drovers quickly regained control, holding the ball in their possession for the majority of the first 15 minutes of the second half.  

Down to the last 12 minutes of play, both the Drovers and Tigers had trouble keeping possession. Each team had a chance to make shots at the goal, but no shots were made. The Drovers had three shots on goal and the Tigers had zero. 

With five mins left to play the Tigers pushed it down the field to score a goal. At the end of regulation, the score stood at 1-1. At the start of the first overtime, the Drovers and Tigers had ten minutes on the clock to play, the Drovers started with the possession.  

With two minutes remaining in overtime, the Tigers had a chance to win; however, USAO’s goalie Angel Diaz managed to save the ball. Throughout the second overtime, both teams fought for possession with both teams making close shots toward the goals in the last minute of play.  

With the score remaining 1-1 from the end of regulation and both overtimes. The winner was decided by a penalty kick shootout. USAO’s Justin Croke began the PKs with one straight to the back of the net, but the Tigers responded. These volleys of back-and-forth penalty shots were goals-after-goals. Each team celebrating after each kick.  

An uneasy feeling settled on the field as the Drovers missed their PK; Luckily for the Drovers, the pressure of the game on the line caused a CCC player to miss left, hitting the pole. 

The next pair of shots decided the game. USAO’s Darko Borisavljevic lined up and shot it straight through the goal. Up next the CCC’s player shot for the continuation of penalty shots, but USAO’s Diaz blocked the ball, leading to a Drover victory.  

Emotions for the Drovers ran high celebrating the win, coming into the match as the underdog, and having a visitor team disadvantage. 

“I feel really good, we [knew] how to play that game, [that] it was a really hard game with a lot of pressure,” Diaz said. “I’m really proud of my teammates cause they really [did] good work.” 

USAO kept their season alive and will play again Monday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. on Chickasha’s McLaughlin Field. The Drovers will challenge 7th seed Oklahoma City University (OCU). The winner of this matchup with either face Mid-American Christian University (MACU), 1st seed and nationally ranked, or Southwestern Christian University (SWOSU), 4th seed. 


Holden Pate is a second-year business administration major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Holden Pate, Contributing Writer
Holden is a second-year business administration major from Rush Springs. He is a resident assistant and works as the men's basketball manager.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Nov. 2023 - present
Laura Barrios Bardi
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura is a fourth-year art major from El Paso, TX. Laura currently works for USAO's Sports Information Department as a photographer. She is also a member of USAO's track and field team. Her hobbies include stargazing, spending time with friends, and working towards elevating her photography skills.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Photographer: Nov. 2022 - present