Irving, Texas - The second-ranked Trinity men's soccer team survived a late deficit to defeat Austin (TX) College 2-1 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals on Saturday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Mazur.)
Trinity came out firing with four shots in the first 15 minutes of action, but the game remained scoreless until the 36th minute.
It was Austin College though that found the back of the net to shock the heavily-favored Trinity team and take that 1-0 lead into halftime.
Less than 10 minutes into the second period, Trinity had peppered Austin's goalkeeper with four more shots – including two on goal – but the Tigers were not able to tie the game.
In the 55th minute, Austin got loose for a breakaway goal, and Tiger goalkeeper Blake Lieberman came out of the box to challenge. Lieberman wound up with a red card instead of winning the ball, and Trinity would be forced to finish the game a man down.
Despite playing with 10 men and a new goalkeeper, Trinity continued to pressure the Austin defense in an attempt to equalize.
With under 10 minutes to play, the Tigers won three consecutive corner kicks, but Austin also made three saves to keep Trinity off the board.
A fourth shot in that sequence was blocked, but the loose ball went back to Trinity's Kamran Moussavi, who was fouled in the box for a penalty kick.
Christian Sakshaug converted the PK to tie the game with just 6:21 left on the clock.
The Tigers were not satisfied with the tie and continued to force the action on the offensive end. Austin made two more saves in the final minutes to keep it tied.
As the final seconds ticked down, though, that pressure led to Austin being called for a hand ball in the box, and the Tigers were back on the mark for a penalty kick with 14 seconds left.
Brady Johnston lifted the Tigers to the win by powering home the kick, and Trinity escaped to the conference final.
Trinity improved to 19-1-0 this season with the win, which is the team's 14th consecutive victory overall, and the 10th straight win in conference tournament play.
The Tigers will play in the SCAC title game for the sixth consecutive season and are seeking the team's sixth straight SCAC Championship.
Trinity out-shot Austin 23-8 in the game, including a 17-4 advantage in the second half – despite playing most of the period with only 10 men.
Christian Sakshaug connected on his ninth overall goal this season, as well as his third career penalty kick goal – all of which have come in 2017.
The goal by Sakshaug was also the 20th of his career with the Tigers, leaving him five more to reach the top 25 in school history.
Brady Johnston scored his fourth goal of the year and the first penalty kick goal of his career. It also marked his second game-winner of the season.
Trinity will meet the winner of tournament host University of Dallas and Southwestern (TX) University in Sunday's SCAC Championship game.