Lee Flames Advance To NCCAA National Championship Semifinals

Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Playing with the heart and passion that has carried the Lee men's soccer team the entire 2013 season, it was that type of never-say-die determination that moved the Flames into the semifinals of the NCCAA National Championship on Wednesday afternoon.

The Flames will get a day off on Thursday and return to action on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., facing the same Fresno Pacific team. In the other semifinal contest Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) will be pitted against Spring Arbor (Mich.) The championship game will be held on Saturday at 3:45 p.

No.1 seed Fresno Pacific had moved into a 2-1 lead in the 77th minute on the second goal of the day by Renato Bustamante in the extremely physical contest that was played on a hot afternoon at the Austin-Tindall Regional Park. After the second goal, the Sunbirds were tagged with a red card and forced to play the final 13 minutes a man down.

Lee seized on the opportunity and pushed for a tying goal, knowing a tie would secure a spot in the final four. As it has been the entire amazing season, coach Paul Furey's men found a way to get the ball into the back of the net.

With only 50 seconds remaining it was sophomore Travis Kiger's turn to score his first goal of the season. Sophomore Adam Garrison got the assist. "Travis was the hero today," added Furey. "He got a great service from Adam. This team just finds ways to get it done.

"This team has done a number of amazing things this year and they just did another by advancing to the final four," said Furey after the tie. "We overcame a number of obstacles against top seeded Fresno to get the result we needed."

After a scoreless first half, the Flames went on top of Fresno when Quade Marinell tallied on an assist from David Perez. Lee seemed content to lay back, but the talented Sunbirds continued to press the action and broke through on two goals by Bustamante in less than two minutes.

Fresno took 16 shots and had 11 on goal. Lee keeper Tom Halsall was there to turn away 11. The Flames took just eight shots and had four on target. Sunbird keeper Fabian Rangal collected two saves.

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