CHICKASHA – The Drover men will have to put their national tournament hopes on hold for another year after Oklahoma City downed the Drovers in the second half of the conference tournament semifinals.
USAO lost the game 2-1.
“I felt like OCU worked harder, and they were the better team today,” Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “We posted only two shutouts in SAC play in 12 games, and defense wins championships.”
USAO had clean sheets against both Mid-America Christian and Lubbock Christian in regular season games.
Senior Nikola Cakarevic was the team’s leading scorer this season, netting 16 goals and three assists for USAO. He ranks No. 12 in the country in total goals. Freshman Nicholas Alberto scored another 10 goals and seven assists for the Drovers.
Keeper Ryan Mcentee played nearly 1,500 minutes in the box. He recorded 38 saves for the USAO.
The Drovers are graduating some key players. Seniors were Cakarevic, Daniel Gibson, Frank Gibson, Jack Norman, Gavin Otieno and David Otieno. The loss of those players could put a hole in the Drovers offense and defense in 2011.
“I’m proud of the seniors,” Assistant Coach Alexis Vizarelis said. “We must learn from the mistakes during the season and work hard in the off season to correct them.”
The Drovers had a strong 14-4 season and are sixth in the division in shots per game (23.59), seventh in assists per game (2.76), eighth in goals per game (3.65) and total goals (62), and ninth in total assists (47) and shots on goal per game (10.47).
“Unfortunately, we were not good enough on the day. We should give credit to the other team,” Vizarelis said.
The Drovers’ struck first against OCU in the SAC semifinals when Frank Gibson found All-American David Otieno just seven minutes into the game. The Drovers fought tough for the remainder of the game but were unable to find the goal again.
Both USAO and OCU had eight shots and the keepers recorded two saves each.
“We had a decent year, but we underachieved,” Hampton said. “It is a tough way to end the season, but I felt like we ended when we should have. So we move forward to off season and get busy recruiting to correct our weakness.”
Published: Nov. 8, 2010