The Saint Mary men lost at Bethel on Wednesday, keeping them from the KCAC tournament and any postseason play.
The Saint Mary men’s soccer team was eliminated from a berth in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, and any post-season contention, with a 5-1 conference loss at Bethel College on Wednesday night.
Senior forward Dylan Gaul scored the only goal for the Spires, booting one in after receiving a long cross from freshman Nolan Bohannon, a graduate of Lansing High School.
That assist was Bohannon’s fourth of the season, which leads all Saint Mary players. Gaul extended his team lead in scoring this year with Wednesday’s goal. He now has five goals to go with two assists this season.
Saint Mary fell to 2-6 in the KCAC with the loss. They are 2-13-1 overall.
Bethel kept its KCAC Tournament hopes alive by improving to 4-4 in conference play and moving into a tie for sixth place with Sterling College, although Sterling has the head-to-head tie-breaker with a win over the Threshers.
Only the top six teams advance to the KCAC Tournament, so Bethel will have to pass either Sterling, Friends University or Tabor College. They are currently half a game behind Friends and one game behind Tabor.
Saint Mary was only outshot 9-7 for the game on Wednesday at Joe W. Goering Field, but were hurt by a costly foul that allowed Bethel to take the first lead. After only eight minutes and 42 seconds had elapsed in the game, Bethel’s Mario Reyes was tripped in the box, giving him a penalty kick that he converted to make it 1-0.
The Spires were once again plagued by goals being scored in bunches, as they have been all season, when Reyes scored again less than two and a half minutes later.
The Threshers led 3-0 at halftime after Andre Hernandez scored midway through the first half. They extended the lead to 4-0 on a goal by Braden Eschete about six minutes into the second half.
After Gaul scored with 20:55 left in the game, the Spires couldn’t keep the momentum and allowed a goal just 48 seconds later. Hernandez knocked it in for his second goal of the match to ice the final score at 5-1.
With only four at-large teams being awarded spots in the NAIA’s national tournament this year, the automatic bid that goes with winning the conference tournament will likely provide the only spot for any KCAC team. Saint Mary’s final game, therefore, will be their last regular season game on Saturday, when they travel to conference-rival Ottawa University. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. in Saturday’s Ottawa match up.