The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

November 6, 2012

OCC opens soccer nationals with familiar foe

Ozark Christian will tackle a familiar opponent when it debuts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the NCCAA Division II National Men’s Soccer Championships at the Austin-Tindall Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

Manhattan (Kan.) Christian is that foe and it’s handed OCC two 1-0 losses this season.

Manhattan and OCC are seeded fourth and fifth, respectively, in the eight-team event. Defending champion Moody Bible Institute (Ill.), a unanimous No. 1 in the final regular-season rankings, is seeded No. 1 and Northland International (Wis.) is No. 2.

OCC, which is coached by Kevin Greer and Damien Spikereit, revived its program after a three-year absence. There was a club team last season and Greer believes it played six matches last fall in Ozark uniforms.

Greer, contacted by telephone on Monday, said the Ambassadors are assured of three games in Florida.

“It’s a big deal (for OCC),” Greer said. “An alum, a former player, called to congratulate us and said our last trip to nationals was in 1997.

“Manhattan Christian? Their defense is very good,” Greer said. “They have an outstanding goalie. We have to prevent them from making the long ball in transition.”

OCC has its standout goalie, Greer said, in senior Trevor Farris. He’s No.1 in GAA in NCCAA Division II by allowing only 13 goals, Greer said.

The OCC defense, Greer said, has freshman Taylor Hunt has the sweeper and senior Jon-Michael Bontrager as the stopper. The outside fullbacks are freshman Nick Hilgediek on the left and sophomore David Kerlin on the right.

Center midfielders are senior Nathan Caddell and sophomore Kyle Handley of Webb City. Outside midfielders are senior Zane Sutherlin and sophomore Ben Dillon.

Forwards are senior Korben Koenig and freshman Kelvin Maina.

Koenig paces OCC in goals with 12 and also has six assists. Handley has supplied 10 assists and five goals, Caddell eight assists and three goals and Bontrager six goals.

Completing the roster are junior Sawyer Smith, sophomore Lucas Ness, sophomore Nate Wesley (who has eight goals), freshman Josiah Javier and freshman Jacob Ormonde.

The captains are Caddell and Sutherlin.

The Ambassadors’ other loss was a 2-1 decision against Dallas Christian.

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