After an exhilarating win, the Golden Eagles will head on the road in the first round of the conference tournament.
JBU will play Mid-America Christian on Saturday Nov 3 in a rematch of an Oct 24 double-overtime draw.
This time, there will be a winner.
“I expect it to be another hard fought game,” said freshman defender Logan Hellinghausen. “To win we just have to stay organized and compact as a team and be able to attack quickly.”
They will play fourth ranked MACU after a 1-0 win over Oklahoma City moved them into the fifth seed.
The Oct 27 win was thanks to a save and a score late in the game.
After a penalty on junior midfielder Andre Sandiford-Williams in the 73rd minute, junior goalkeeper Pablo Garcia kept the game square with a save on the penalty kick.
Sandiford-Williams then won the game with a goal in the 87th minute.
Winning a close game against a premier opponent has eluded the Eagles thus far.
“It seems like anytime we’ve made a mistake we were punished for it,” said head coach John Miglarese. “It was good to see us play really well and actually get rewarded for it.”
Also, it was a big win against a big opponent going into the tournament.
“Oklahoma City is a perennial power in our conference,” said Miglarese. “It’s what we needed going into the playoffs.”
In the first round JBU will face an Evangels squad that is 5-2-1 at home.
“Mid-America has been a bear at home and they’ve knocked off several good teams,” said Miglarese. “They have a clear idea of how they want to score.”
The way they want to score is to rely on sophomore midfielder Raphael Bonell, who leads the team with 9 goals, Miglarese said.
“They are a tall team and very good in the air,” said senior defender David Castagne. “[Bonell] is very strong [but] we are definitely capable of shutting him down.”
Part of the equation to beat MACU is good defence, which will be anchored by conference defensive player of the week Pablo Garcia.
“You want a goalkeeper in form in the playoffs,” said Miglarese. “He may have to win some games for us.”
The biggest key seems to be generating offensive chances.
“We need to make sure to pass the ball and take control early,” said Castagne. “If we can keep the ball and create chances we will have a good chance to win.”
Converting those chances has been the struggle this season.
“We’ve passed around all of the teams in our conference,” said Miglarese. “We have to put away our chances.”
Hellinghausen said, “It could come down to one of those chances so it’s important to capitalise on even the smallest chances.”
The team is confident that their schedule this season will prepare them for Mid-America’s style of play.
“We’re not going to see anything that’s going to surprise us,” said Miglarese. “Right now we don’t have to be pretty, we have to be effective.”
The Eagles will open tournament play at Mid-America Christian on Saturday, Nov 3.