CHICKASHA – The No. 24 Drovers secured their place in the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-0 shutout over Northwood University on Monday afternoon at Drover Pitch in Chickasha.
The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (14-4, 9-1) will face the winner of Monday night’s game between Saint Gregory’s and Texas Wesleyan. The SAC Championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at USAO.
The Drovers, who already earned the SAC regular season title, look to win the SAC Tournament to advance to their fifth straight NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round.
“It was a good team win,” Head Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “The boys are playing hard, fighting as a team and proud that they get the opportunity to play in the finals at home.”
In Monday’s game, junior goalkeeper Bryan Byars (14-4) tied the USAO career record for most wins with 45, previously held alone by Elliott Ballmann. Byars has 30 shutouts to his career, which is also a school record.
Northwood’s goalkeeper, Brandon Alvarez, had eight saves in the game. The Drovers dominated offensively, outshooting the Knights 32-4.
“Defensively, we did an excellent job keeping the clean sheet as Northwood is a talented attacking side,” Hampton said. “I thought we did well getting the ball wide and using our pace to create some good scoring chances.”
USAO had the lead for most of the game, grabbing the game-winning goal just 12 minutes into the game. SAC Player of the Year Liam Madden found Stephen Owusu for his sixth goal of the season.
Owusu went on to score again in the second half, heading the ball into the goal off a cross by teammate Kyle Maxwell.
Scoring the final goal just two minutes later was senior defender Phil Pryor, who headed it off a free kick by Niall Burley. It was Pryor’s first goal of his career.
The win is the 10th in a row for USAO after starting the season 4-4.
The SAC Championship game will be streamed in HD for free on USAO's sports website.