The Bob Jones University men’s soccer season has come to an end as the Bruins fell to the Shorter University Hawks 5-0 in the NCCAA D1 South regional playoffs Nov. 19 in Murfreesboro, North Carolina.
The Bruins entered the regional playoffs as the No. 7 seed, with the Hawks ranked No. 3. SU finished the regular season with a 9-10-1 record. BJU kept the score close throughout the first half, entering halftime trailing the Hawks 1-0.
The second half was a different story, as the Bruins could not delay the SU attack any longer. SU’s Fernando De Barros tallied the first goal at the end of the first half, and four other Hawks found the back of the net in the second half to advance SU through to the next round.
The Bruins’ three-month campaign has finally come to a close, and the players are in definite need of some rest before they begin offseason workouts.
After the 2013 squad finished their soccer campaign at 9-8-1, the 5-13 regular season record this fall was disappointing for the Bruins. This year’s team had very little prior college soccer experience and will graduate only two seniors: goalkeeper Joseph Wooster and midfielder Ryan Beadles.
BJU began the season 5-6 but dropped the final six regular season games and their first playoff game. The young team lost seven seniors from the 2013 season as well as several other key players from that squad. But after an offseason of workouts and the addition of more young talent, the Bruins should be retooled heading into the 2015 soccer campaign.
Despite the losing record, this season did provide several memorable moments. On Sept. 19, team captain Ryan McCarty tallied a hat trick on his birthday. Later, on Faculty Appreciation Night at BJU, McCarty found the net with 3.8 seconds left in the thrilling game to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory over Tennessee Temple.
The Bruins goalkeepers recorded two shutouts over the course of this season. Home field advantage proved to be important for the Bruins as the team finished with a 4-4 record at BJU’s Alumni Stadium, but a 1-8 record away from Greenville.
McCarty and Travis Woodham led the Bruins in goals throughout the season with five goals and four goals, respectively. Freshman forward Jared Simmons led the team in assists, tallying a total of four assists.
The early exit from the playoffs and 5-13 record means that head coach Jesse McCormick will have to push his players during the offseason so they can reach peak potential. McCormick will also hit the recruiting trail in an attempt to find more talent.
In spite of a disappointing season, Bob Jones University is still in the early stages of building a successful intercollegiate athletic program, and the future is still bright for the Bruins.