Men’s soccer team will compete in Fab Four

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The Baker University men’s soccer team is one step closer to having a chance to win its first national championship in school history after defeating Grand View University 3-1 Wednesday.

“We were working extremely hard and Grand View was very technical and liked to take care of the ball,” junior Nate Byarlay said.

The Wildcats have been out to prove doubters wrong all season after being unranked and only receiving 15 votes in the NAIA National Preseason Poll.

“Since the beginning of the season, no one has really believed in us,” senior Steven Stewart said. “At the beginning of the season we were barely receiving votes. We’ve just been proving people wrong the entire season. I think a lot of people didn’t really believe in us (Wednesday) either from hearing some of the commentators on the game.”

In Wednesday’s Elite Eight matchup with Grand View, Baker took an early lead on a goal from junior Nick Aguilar to set the tone of the game.

“It’s always great to score, especially in a big game like that,” Aguilar said. “It was nice to get a goal early to kind of relieve some of the pressure.”

Although the Vikings tied the game at 1-1 just before halftime, the Wildcats came roaring out of the second half with a goal in the 53rd minute from junior Odaine Sinclair and in the 58th minute from senior Tom Lowndes, to take a 3-1 advantage.

“It was fantastic,” Aguilar said. “From the beginning of the game, we knew we had to pressure them defensively and not give them much time on the ball. When we got the ball to go at them at pace and we were able to break some of their lines of defenisve pressure and get in behind them and just kept flying at them. It was nice to get those two goals.”

BU, 20-1-1, has a tough task at hand in its national semifinal matchup against 21-0-0 Lindsey Wilson College.

“I expect for us to show up the way we always do and get the victory,” Byarlay said.

Stewart knows that one of the keys to victory will be not focusing too much on Lindsey Wilson, and making sure to play the same way that has brought the team to the Final Four.

The Wildcats will face the Blue Raiders at 6 p.m. Friday in Orange Beach, Ala.

If the ’Cats advance to the national championship game, they will play the winner of Hastings College and William Carey University at 7 p.m. Saturday.