The amazing run of the Lee University men's soccer team continued on Friday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Fresno Pacific in the semi-final round of the NCCAA
The Flames got out of the gate quickly and scored at the 9:09 mark on Quade
seventh goal of the year. Gabe Franco was credited with the assist.
The Sunbirds tied the contest at one in the 31st minute after Lee was called for a foul inside the box. Gustavo Silva was awarded the penalty kick and promptly knocked in his 13th goal of the year.
The rugged and sometimes hard-hitting battle continued into the 80th minute but the determined Flames refused to back away. Franco scored off a rebound deep inside the box at the 80:14 mark. Jonathan Perelman got the assist. It was Franco's third goal of the year.
The Flames did an excellent job of taking care of the ball and took only nine shots but placed six on goal. Fabian Rangel had four saves for the losers. On the other hand, the Sunbirds attempted 18 shots and had seven on target. Lee keeper Tom Halsall
was a standout again with six hard-earned saves.
"Anytime that you are playing for a national championship, your team has accomplished something special," said a delighted coach Paul Furey
. "This team has really had that special kind of season.
"We have good players but it is more about character and mentality. Our team has demonstrated both of those things together to make this an outstanding year."
The Flames will take a 13-3-6 record into the championship game on Saturday at 3:30 and will be pitted against an old Southern States Athletic Conference rival, Southern Wesleyan. Fresno Pacific ended its fine season at 16-5-2.