1 March, 2024

Milligan Soccer Squad’s NAIA Run Ends with 2-1 Loss in Championship

by | 5 December, 2023 | 0 comments

The men’s soccer team from Milligan University (Tennessee) pulled four upsets to reach the NAIA National Championship match before falling to MidAmerica Nazarene University 2-1 on Monday afternoon at Scheels Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita, Kan. 

The Buffaloes took a 1-0 lead on MNU midway through the first half when the squad from Olathe, Kan., surrendered an own goal. Just before halftime, however, MNU’s offense managed to tie the match at 1-1. 

About 20 minutes into the second half, MNU’s Guilherme Galvao shot at the Buffs’ net. Milligan keeper Adria Alles blocked the shot but couldn’t secure the ball, which Galvao then put away for what became the game-winning goal, according to the NAIA.org website

In the match, the Pioneers of MNU outshot the Milligan Buffaloes, 13-5, and had more than double the corner kicks, 7-3. 

Greg Anderson of Milligan earned the Outstanding Defensive Player Award for the tournament. Teammate Asa Kai Blake, a forward, also was named to the All-Tournament Team. 

Milligan finished ranked No. 19 in the final NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll on Nov. 8 (before the tournament), when their record stood at 14-2-3. The Buffs’ path to the tournament’s championship game included a 2-0 win over William Carey University (Hattiesburg, Miss.) on Nov. 18; defeating the University of Mobile (Ala.) on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 tie Nov. 27; besting Bellevue (Neb.) University 2-1 on Nov. 30; and shutting out St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens, Fla.) 1-0 in two overtimes on Dec. 2. 

Milligan finished its season with a 19-3-4 record. The Buffs set program records for wins, goals (90), assists (81), and shutouts (15), according to Milligan’s athletics website. MU made its first-ever semifinal and title game appearances in any head-to-head team sport in their national tournament run. 

The Buffaloes were the first Appalachian Athletic Conference men’s soccer team to reach the NAIA semifinals match and championship match. 

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