Fort Hays State men's soccer defeated the Harding University Bisons 3-1 in the first GAC/MIAA semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 15.
The Tigers victory improves their record to 13-5-1 overall in 2019, while the Bisons fall to 9-7-2.
GAC Freshman of the Year Alec Bevis put the Tigers on the board early in the match. In the eighth minute, junior Mauricio Etcheverry sent a corner into the box. Flying over the heads of every defender, Bevis beat his man at the opposite edge of the six-yard box and tapped the ball into the back of the net—beating goalkeeper Carlos Calderon to the near post.
Fort Hays State was able to strike again just 10 minutes later. A cross from Etcheverry rattled between a trio of Harding defenders. After a pair of touches from the Bisons, the ball fell right to the feet of Arsenio Chamorro, who displayed a clinical finish past a diving Calderon to extend the Tiger lead to two goals.
With just under three minutes remaining in the first half, FHSU won a free kick spotted in their attacking third. Senior Moises Peralta stepped up with confidence and drilled a ball towards the goal, rattling off of the crossbar from nearly 40-yards out.
The Black and Gold grabbed their third goal of the match in the 69th minute. Seniors Joey McCain and Santiago Agudelo played a pair of passes, the first off of McCain's throw-in and the second from Agudelo's back-heel, down the line. McCain, sprinting from the sideline put a cross towards the center of the six-yard box. Chamorro, who had scored previously, jumped in front of his defender. Sticking his foot out, he redirected the ball to the far post, past the outstretched hands of Calderon.
While Fort Hays State persisted with aggression on the offensive end and retained possession for a majority of the match, Harding was able to lessen the margin in the 72nd minute when Jeremy Nwonumah was sent through on goal and beat goalkeeper Cullen Fisch for the Bisons only score of the contest.
The Tigers registered 17 total shots on Friday afternoon, four of which hit the target. Fisch remained active at the anchor of FHSU's defense, notching five saves.
The victory puts Fort Hays State through to their match on Sunday afternoon against Rogers State. The Hillcats fought to a 2-0 victory over the Northeastern State RiverHawks on Friday night (Nov. 15).
FHSU defeated Rogers State in both meetings throughout the 2019 campaign—the first meeting resulted in a 2-0 victory in Hays, Kan. while the latter match was a 1-0 scoreline in Claremore, Okla.
The Tigers hold a 2-1 series lead all-time over the Hillcats.
Sunday's championship contest between the two sides is slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff.