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Covenant Advances to NCCAA Nationals With 2-0 Win Over Oakland City

Mayfield, TN-  After hearing this past summer that the school's athletic program had decided to transition to the NCAA's Division III, the Covenant College men's soccer team knew they would not be able to play for the AAC, NAIA, or NCAA championships.  But what they did know, was that they would have a shot at qualifying for the NCCAA national championships in Florida.  "From the beginning of the season we've talked about going to nationals," said Coach Nathan Pifer, "We want to go for our seniors, and we want to go so we can win a championship."  Indeed, Saturday's game at Mid Continent University against Oakland City would provide the Scots that chance.  Having beaten King College 3-2 in overtime the day before, the Scots entered the game with

tired legs and eager hearts.  "Anytime you play two games back-to-back people are naturally going to be tired," said Pifer, "We've worked hard on our fitness, though, and we have people who can come in and give the starters a break, so we still expect everyone to give it their all."  And, true to their recent form, the Scots came out of the gates with something to prove.  Junior David Pifer opened the scoring for the Scots in just the 6th minute of play, scoring from close range after Oakland City goalkeeper Matthew Ball spilled Covenant midfielder Colby Robbins' shot.  Covenant continued to dominate the run of play for much of the first half, outshooting Oakland 8-4, and coming close on several occasions.  The second half saw Oakland City come out much

more inspired, though, and they almost made Covenant pay, as goalkeeper John Eger was forced to palm the ball off the line in desperation.  The referees saw no reason to award a goal, though, and Covenant survived what would be their biggest scare of the game.  Either way, Covenant needed another goal to put the game on ice, and Colby Robbins, who scored twice in their semifinal victory over King just the day before, provided that insurance with a well placed free kick in the 80th minute.  Up 2-0 with only ten minutes left, Covenant's defense held strong, keeping the shutout and helping guide the team to the regional championship title.  The Scots will now await seeding for the national championship, which will take place in Kissimmee, Florida December 2-6.  "We've had a great season so far," said senior defender Ben Wagner after the game, "but we've still got work to do.  We plan on leaving Florida with a national championship in hand."