ORLANDO, Fla. - 11/24/2003 - The Union University men's soccer team earned the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship on Monday night as they defeated fellow NAIA school Southern Wesleyan University (S.C) 2-0. For the Union soccer team, this was their first NCCAA National Championship in the five trips to the tournament. The Bulldogs finish the season 13-5-3 while Southern Wesleyan ends the year with a 12-13 record.
Union swept through the eight-team tournament as the No. 6 seed and did not allow a goal in the three games played. This marks the second straight season that the NCCAA National Champion did not allow a goal on their way to the title (Judson College - 2002). On Friday, Union defeated No. 3 seeded Masters College (Calif.) 1-0. Then Union followed up with a semifinal win over No. 2 seeded Cedarville University (Ohio) by the score of 1-0.
Southern Wesleyan was seeded No. 8 and had knocked off the No. 1 seed in Roberts Wesleyan in the opening round. Early in the season, Southern Wesleyan's team suffered a wreck that put several players on the injured list. After a slow start, Southern Wesleyan rallied back to win eight of their last nine games and win the Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference (GACC) tournament championship. In doing so, Southern Wesleyan defeated No. 10 Auburn-Montgomery. They lost in the first round of their NAIA Region Tournament. Southern Wesleyan then defeated Tennessee Temple to qualify for the NCCAA Nationals.
The championship game was scoreless at the half. In the 70th minute of play, Union's Gareth Munro tallied the game winner on an assists by Fabio Buarque. Then in the 90th minute, the Bulldogs added a final goal by senior Kekec Zivkovic on an assist by Jackson native Christopher Anthony to make the score 2-0. With Union's stellar defense throughout the tournament, the score proved to be plenty.
The men's soccer team makes the second Union University team to earn an NCCAA National Championship this fall as they join the Lady Bulldog volleyball team who earned the 2003 NCCAA Volleyball National Title back on Nov. 1. Overall, this makes four NCCAA National Titles won by Union Athletics, including back-to-back softball NCCAA National Titles in 2001 and 2002.
PHOTO BELOW: 08/29/03 - Fabio Buarque (12) shows some fancy footwork in controlling the ball. Daniel Lee (5) looks on for Union. - by Jonathan Blair
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