Columbia College fans that braved the rain and cold at Owens Soccer Stadium had their hearts broken Wednesday.
The Cougars men’s soccer team has to wait another year to earn the program’s first Region V title.
No. 4 seed William Jewell beat the top-seeded Cougars in overtime penalty kicks after regulation and two overtimes ended in a tie at 1. After 110 minutes of play, William Jewell scored three penalty kicks in the second-round game.
The Cougars (14-4-1) will be forced to wait until Sunday to find out if they will make their second consecutive appearance in the NAIA national tournament.
If William Jewell beats Baker in Friday’s Region V final, there is a chance the Cougars, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA, will receive an at-large bid to the tournament.
Coach John Klein, though, is preparing himself and the team in case they don’t get the selection.
“Our numbers did not come out the way we wanted them to,” Klein said. “We’ll wait for that phone call. I think we need to accept now that we’re not going to go, and if we do go, it’ll be a pleasant surprise.”
The Cougars held the upper hand throughout most of the first half. They created many scoring opportunities, but the ball ended up everywhere except in the back of the net. Cardinals’ goalkeeper Michael Patton made only five saves in 110 minutes.
Columbia College scored on a penalty kick after midfielder Juan Pagoda went down hard after a William Jewell defender tripped him.
“When we went up 1-0, I thought we could hold onto it,” Klein said.
The Columbia College defense also played a large part in keeping the game within reach. Jeff Brodie, Jared Cross, Vladimir Roganavic and Micah Bolton kept the William Jewell offense from getting open looks in front of goalkeeper Steve Williams.
The only breakdown the defense suffered was in the 85th minute. William Jewell midfielder Kevin Nekuda scored off a corner kick which deflected off a Cougar defender standing in the box and ended up in the near side of the net.
Going into penalty kicks, Klein said he was concerned. Most of the goal scorers on his team were on the bench with injuries.
“Penalty kicks have been our nemesis, and we really needed to win the game in regulation.” Klein said.
Klein also decided to replace Williams with junior Nano Recondo. Klein said he made the move because in practice Recondo was the superior shot blocker.
Despite the disheartening loss, Klein said he is proud of what the team has accomplished.
“They have established this program as one of the premier programs in the nation,” Klein said. “It’s our job to continue building on what they’ve set out there.”