Baker men’s soccer season ends in NAIA opening round


Jenna Black

Keaton Anchors fights for possession in Baker’s season-ending 2-0 loss to Midland on Nov. 19. Anchors finished the night with one shot on goal. Image by Jenna Black.

The Baker men’s soccer team had its postseason cut short after a 2-0 loss to the Midland Warriors Saturday night during an NAIA opening-round match Saturday night.

Thwarting Baker’s offensive efforts, Warriors’ goalkeeper Shazz Heale managed seven saves for the night. Sophomore Steeve Pouna led the Wildcat offense with four shots, one of which was on goal.

Late in the first half, Ali Sodal put the Warriors on the board, assisted by Harrison Rogers. Sodal Is Midland’s leading goal scorer and had recorded 23 goals this season prior to the NAIA opening round.

Baker trailed Midland 1-0 after the first 45 minutes of the match, despite outshooting the Warriors four to three.

With dropping temperatures and time ticking down, the Wildcats felt an urgency to even the score. Baker outshot Midland nine to one in the second half and had three corner-kick opportunities.

Midland’s Robert Wiseman gave the Warriors their second goal, assisted by James Kilburn, sealing the team’s victory with five minutes left in the match.

Matt Hamm and Blake Levine had two shots each Saturday night, and Baker goalkeeper Nick Riggle recorded one save.

Baker’s last meeting with Midland was in the 2013 NAIA opening round, when the Wildcats defeated the Warriors 2-1 in double overtime.

Midland improved to 17-3-1 after the team’s first-ever win the NAIA national tournament, while the Wildcats’ season ends at 13-5-2.

Seven members of the men’s soccer team received Heart of America Athletic Conference honors this year. Spencer Atkin and Steeve Pouna both earned spots on the first-team all-conference squad, while Kyle Young and Blake Levine were named second-team all-conference. Peyton Brown, Gonnie Ben-Tal and Keaton Anchors all earned third-team all-conference honors.

Senior Julian Sansano was named as the team’s 2016 NAIA Men’s Soccer Champion of Character.