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No. 13-rated SPSU loses to eighth-ranked AUM in final seconds of SSAC Tournament championship game, awaits at-large bid to NAIA nationals

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In Saturday’s championship game of the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament, the No. 5-seed Southern Polytechnic State University men’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker, 2-1, in the final seconds to the second-seeded Auburn University at Montgomery Warhawks at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex. Auburn Montgomery is ranked No. 8 nationally in the NAIA while Southern Polytechnic is 13th.

“It was an extremely disappointing result,” Southern Poly head coach Kom Momeni said. “We held them to three shots on goal and had a handful of good looks ourselves. Yet, they scored another scrappy goal. They just wanted it more than us."

After a scoreless first half, the Warhawks took a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 50th minute (49:26). The Hornets answered in the 71st minute (70:43) when junior defender Gabe Warner found the net, tying the match. AUM got the game-winner in the 90th minute with just 16 seconds remaining to earn an automatic berth in the NAIA national event.

"Their game winner was a direct result of a very questionable call and we didn't do a good enough job of dealing with officiating,” Momeni said. “We practice that all the time and we just had a mental letdown. Championship teams don't get scored on with 16 seconds left on the clock, and they finish their easy chances. We didn't deserve the title this year."

SPSU outshot Auburn Montgomery 14-10, including 7-3 on goal. Southern Poly ended with a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior Dennis Kramer, a First Team All-SSAC honoree, played all 90 minutes in goal for the Hornets and made one save.

SPSU is 13-5-1 overall while the Warhawks are 16-3-2. Southern Poly is hopeful of an at-large bid to the NAIA nationals with the selections being announced by the NAIA on Monday afternoon.

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