COLUMBIA - The crisp autumn air and the motivating R&B beats pumping out from the sound system contributed to only a fraction of the charged atmosphere that was felt at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium Friday.
The rest of the electricity came from the Columbia College men’s soccer team. The Cougars defeated Park University 2-1 in overtime Friday to win the American Midwest Conference title.
The hits came hard in the first half for the Cougars. Captain and senior Jordan Cox and freshman Yudai Yamaguchi both fell when battling for control of the ball. They quickly recovered, but throughout the entire game there were moments when more players on both teams were on the ground. The tumbles were the results of aggressive defensive play from both teams as they fought for the AMC title.
The defensive play continued until the last 17 minutes of the first half when Cougar mid-fielder Milos Milosavljevic scored the first goal of the game.
The Cougars remained in the lead until the beginning of the second half when Park University's Ramone Palmer tied the game up.
After an intense second half, the game went into a ten-minute overtime. In overtime, Cox broke away with the ball with an assist from co-captain Lloyd Jacob.
“I knew I was under a lot of pressure,” Cox said, “I tried to concentrate. I knew it was one-on-one with the goal keeper.”
Cox handled the pressure well. He scored the game-winning goal for the Cougars making them the AMC champions.
Coach John Klein was happy with tonight’s performance.
“They played terrific soccer,” Klein said.
The NAIAA national tournament begins Nov. 21. There is a chance that the Cougars could host the game in Columbia.
The momentum from this game will help the Cougars, Cox feels.
“Whoever we play, we are going to beat them,” Cox said.