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

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

The Trend

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Drovers Head to the SAC Championship!

After scoring three goals against the Stars, USAO prepares to take on MACU Thursday, Nov. 9
Laura Barrios Bardi
After beating out the Stars, USAO’s men’s soccer team gather to celebrate before preparing for their next matchup.

Coming back home to host the lower bracket of the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) semi-finals, USAO was looking to reach the SAC championship. After having won a thriller of a game against 3rd seed Central Christian College (CCC), the Drovers faced the 7th seed Oklahoma City University (OCU).  The Stars also came in from an upset of their own, beating John Brown University (JBU) who was the 2nd seed coming into the SAC tournament in their previous matchup.

USAO let their presence be known in the first half of the game, controlling the ball for the majority of the time. Junior midfielder Matija Malenovic scored first for the Drovers with 27 minutes remaining in the first half, putting the Drovers up 1-0 against the Stars. At the end of the half, the score remained 1-0.

Starting the second half the Stars were looking to get back into the game. After being awarded a free kick, the Stars took advantage of the opportunity and scored with 35 minutes still left to play.

The Drovers, unfazed by the goal, went back to work. With 28 minutes left in regulation, junior forward Darko Borisavljevic, with an assist from freshman defender Sebastian Boldt, scored to put the Drovers back on top giving them a 2-1 lead.

Keeping the pressure on the Stars, the Drovers maintained control and pace of the game. Less than ten minutes after the last goal, senior forward Justin Croke placed an amazing cross-field shot near the soccer net where senior forward Dani Suarez was able to converge on the ball sending it straight past the Stars’ goalie and extended USAO’s lead to 3-1.

OCU was scrambling to get back in the game and they pushed the ball down the field where USAO fouled, giving the Stars another free kick. The free kick bounced off one of the Drovers in the direction towards the goal. Luckily, USAO’s goalkeeper Angel Diaz was able to intercept the ball before it passed through the net.

With morale for OCU dropping lower, the Drovers maintained control of the ball and stalled for time, solidifying the game and ultimately winning.

At the end of the game, the score stood 3-1 Drovers. With this win, USAO is heading back to the SAC championship where they will play the top seeded Mid-America Christian University (MACU). The Evangels are also the number one NAIA ranked team based on the NAIA Coaches Poll.

“We are gonna win, I can feel [it],” said Suarez, when asked about the potential outcome of their match-up against MACU. He went on to say how awesome and proud he is of the team this year and they’ve displayed nothing but confidence.

USAO will play at Dill Soccer Field on MACU’s campus, Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m. The winner of this game will secure their spot in the NAIA National Tournament.


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