Joseph Nava scored twice, and the TBC Eagles got an own goal from the defense as Trinity Baptist College won the 2018 South Region Tournament with a 3-1 win over the rivaled Pensacola Christian College Eagles Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Nava first connected in Minute 14 to give Trinity a 1-0 lead when Clayton McDaniel found him in front of the goal. Nava beat goalkeeper Brent Konieczynski to the ball and put it into the open net.
Nava then scored again in Minute 59 to give Trinity some insurance after Pensacola cut a two-goal deficit down to one shortly before halftime.
Trinity benefitted from a defensive miscue two minutes after Nava’s first goal. The defender tried to get the ball to his keeper but misdirected it into the goal to give Trinity a 2-0 lead.
Pensacola pulled to within one seven minutes before halftime thanks to Jake McClellan, who connected from just outside the goal box. Trinity goalkeeper Kyle Aultman got a hand on the ball, but McClellan struck his shot so well that it deflected into the goal.
The two teams went into halftime with Trinity leading 2-1.
Aultman earned defensive honors by making six saves, including one sequence in which Pensacola got off two shots back-to-back only to find the 6’4″ goalkeeper block both attempts — the first on the dive and the second while sitting immediately afterward. Pensacola’s Konieczynski saved four and finished the season with 120 saves.
Gabriel Zaffiro and Brian Paul played their usual stellar defense while the offense controlled the ball for the bulk of the first half. Pensacola controlled the ball much better in the second, but Trinity’s defense gave Aultman all the help he needed.
Trinity had 7 shots on goal in 17 attempts. Angelo Fernandez took aim five times, and Nava did so four times. Seven other TBC Eagles took shots as well. Pensacola totaled 18 shots with eight of them on goal. Paul Stewart shot four times, and McClellan took three shots. Nine teammates totaled 11 more shots.
Trinity advances to the NCCAA Division 2 National Championship Tournament for the fifth consecutive year. The tournament begins on Tuesday, November 13, at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The Eagles are looking for their second national championship; they won it all for the first time in 2015.
–Raymond Bureau, TBC Athletics
PHOTOS: Ethan Horton, Dean Bureau of TBC Athletics