ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
In what may have been one of the biggest wins in Tabor College men’s soccer history, the Bluejays downed McPherson 4-3 in the opening round of the KCAC playoffs.
The 4-5 Bluejays came in as heavy underdogs to the 7-2 Bulldogs, and fell behind 3-0 in the second half.
“We gave up some pretty weak goals,” coach Herb Wiebe said.
The Bulldogs brought in substitutes with 30 minutes remaining. With 20 minutes left, the Bluejays’ Casey McCoy scored to make it 3-1.
“We kept forcing the play and we got a penalty shot with about 12 minutes left,” Wiebe said.
Chris Adrian buried it to cut the McPherson lead in half, and the Bulldogs brought their starters back in, post-haste.
Strong defensive plays from Dallas Pruitt and Aaron Schmucker preserved the window of opportunity. But with 8 minutes remaining, Adrian was ejected for taking a second yellow card.
“We found ourselves shorthanded, down a man, with our best player on the sideline, and we kept trying to create opportunities,” Wiebe said.
The corner kick opportunity led to a Trent Voth header that tied the game with 1:10 to go.
McPherson kicked off, but Tabor won the ball back with enough time for another rush.
“Ben Ruzinsky took (the ball) down the line, played it to Silas Hibbs in front of their box and Silas found Andy Adrian coming,” Wiebe said.
“Andy one-timed it through the goalie’s legs, and we won 4-3.
“It’s the most dramatic comeback I’ve ever been a part of,” Wiebe said.
Asked about the win’s place in the history of TC soccer, Wiebe replied: “I don’t know, it would be up there. Talking to some people who have been around the program for a while, they said that’s the most amazing game they’ve seen.”
The victory earned the Bluejays a berth in the semifinals, where Tabor was eliminated from the playoffs by eventual conference champion Kansas Wesleyan, 4-0.
The four-goal loss may have indicated just how incredible the quarterfinal win was.
“Mentally, we just weren’t performing at the same intensity as we were on Wednesday,” Wiebe said. “We were doing pretty good, but with about 15 minutes left in the first half, you could tell we were just trying to hold on, that we were just out of it.”
In the championship game, KWU beat Bethel 1-0 in overtime, but the Bluejays had already notched the biggest win of the 2006 season.