The Oglethorpe men's soccer team clinched at least a share of their fifth straight SAA regular season title Sunday, and with it the No. 1 seed in and home-field advantage throughout the SAA tournament, with a 5-0 shutout of the homestanding Hendrix Warriors in Conway, Arkansas. The Stormy Petrels also increased their multi-year unbeaten streak in SAA play to 26 games with the win.
Knowing that a win would clinch the conference's No. 1 seed no matter what second-place Centre and Sewanee did on Sunday, the Petrels got off to a blazing fast start with a goal in the third minute of the game. Senior forward Ryan Marcano finished a feed from senior midfielder Josh Bronstorph to give the Petrels the opening goal and the 1-0 lead. That score line lasted until the 27th minute, when senior forward Matt Ward took a pass from sophomore midfielder Affonso Temporal and finished it past Hendrix goalkeeper Josh Neuman to double the Oglethorpe advantage.
Hendrix was able to keep the visitors right there for the remainder of the period, but the Petrels unrelentingly attacked the Warrior goal. They outshot the home side 19-2 in the first half.
The Petrels picked up in the second half right where they left off in the first, adding a third goal in the 58th minute. Sophomore forward Abraham Lopez scored off an assist from senior midfielder Andrew Grodhaus and the Petrels were well on their way to the victory, leading 3-0.
Things didn't get any easier for Hendrix when Cade Hallman received a red card in the 64th minute for his second yellow-card offense of the game, reducing his side to 10 men for the final 26 minutes.
The Petrels won a penalty kick just two minutes later. Marcano stepped to the spot and put the ball past Hendrix backup goalkeeper Aaron Sahlmann to make the score 4-0. It served as Marcano's eighth goal of the season and second of the contest.
The visitors finished the scoring in the 72nd minute when freshman forward James Williams tallied his eighth goal of the season, extending their lead to 5-0.
For the game, Oglethorpe outshot Hendrix by a whopping 36-3 margin, including 14-1 in shots on goal. They also took 15 corner kicks to Hendrix's two.
Freshman goalkeeper Ulises Rodriguez earned his third clean sheet in his last four games, and his second of the weekend.
The Petrels improved to 11-3 on the season overall and 6-0 in SAA play with the victory. They'll take on Berry in the final game of the regular season Saturday at 7 p.m. from the Oglethorpe Track and Field. Centre and Sewanee, the two teams currently involved in a second-place tie at 5-1 in league play, face each other on the same day. Though they've already clinched a share of the title, Oglethorpe would clinch their fifth straight outright SAA regular season crown with a win or a draw, while a draw in the Centre-Sewanee game would also clinch it for the Petrels. The Petrels have already clinched the conference's No. 1 seed due to having beaten both Centre and Sewanee head-to-head.