Hawks advance to Sweet 16

Published 8:18 pm Sunday, November 21, 2021

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PENSACOLA, FLA. – The first NCAA postseason contest for the Chowan men’s soccer program produced all the excitement a fan could ask for in a 1-1 double-overtime draw that led to the Hawks advancing to the NCAA DII Men’s Soccer Sweet 16 on penalty kicks against West Florida here Sunday afternoon.

“It was a fantastic performance by the team today, to go through all of the penalty kicks that we had to score, showed that we worked hard on it and something that we are proud of,” said Chowan head coach Chris Whalley. “The effort from the group was fantastic and they deserved to win the game.”

After the second overtime period with teams still locked in a 1-1 tie, Harri Lovett started off the shootout with a conversion. Sam Hall converted before Charlie Farrar made a save to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. Toby Sims and Tren Drexhage converted before the UWF keeper made a save to even the shootout at 4-4.

Dennis Bates, Erik Ruiz, Zouhair Bettache, Wesley Illes, and Alex Espinoza converted the next five as the Argos followed suit, 9-9.

Hall started off the next round with a conversion before Sims, Lovett, and Drexhage converted to lead 13-12.

Farrar then sealed the win, making a save that allowed Hawks to advance to the Sweet 16.

“We obviously worked hard on our penalty kicks, but also worked just as hard on our shape and ways we thought we could hurt them,” Whalley said. “We thought that we were the better team in regulation, and could have won in regulation if we took our chances.

“We didn’t come down here to be one of the numbers, we feel that we are one of the best teams in the country and can try to play with anybody,” Whalley continued. “In games like this there are ebbs-and-flows, I think Toby (Sims) is one of the best players in the country, and scoring a crazy own goal, sometimes those things happen, that was against the run of play, we were the better team at the time. Then, one of our other big time leaders, Harri Lovett, stepped up and scored a fantastic goal to get us back in the game. Charlie (Farrar) would step up and made a big save and he did, which was a massive save for us.”

The scoreless match would be broken in the 63′ as the Hawks tallied an own goal off miscommunication to give West Florida a 1-0 lead. The Argos’ lead did not hold long as Lovett finished off the rebound in the left corner for the equalizer in the 69′.

Chowan will take on Nova Southeastern in the NCAA Division II Third Round (Sweet Sixteen). More details will be made available at a later time.