The men’s soccer program at Shawnee State posted stats plenty comparable to Lindsey Wilson in the final box score as SSU, who was outshot by a 15-8 margin, narrowly missed matching the Blue Raiders in shots on goal (8-7), fouls (called for 10 compared to Lindsey Wilson’s seven) and corner kicks (3-1).
However, of the eight shots that Lindsey Wilson put on frame, the Blue Raiders converted six to put an astonishing 75 percent of their shots on goal in the back of the net, while Shawnee State could only muster a 50th minute goal from Kevin de Lange in a season-ending 6-1 loss for the Bears on Saturday evening in the Mid-South Conference’s Opening Round in Bowling Green, Ky.
Over the first 13 minutes of play on Saturday evening, Shawnee State, who entered the fray as the No. 7 overall seed in the Mid-South Conference Tournament, played right with their No. 2 counterparts in Lindsey Wilson as neither team could muster a shot over the game’s opening 13 minutes.
At that juncture, Akean Shackelford — who came into Saturday’s contest posting a team-best 15 goals — took over matters. The native of Westmoreland, Jamaica scored on a lined shot in the middle of the penalty box in the 14th minute, then, after a Neville Morgan goal off of a defensive misplay, scored again in the 31st minute off of strong combination play from the Blue Raiders to put Lindsey Wilson out in front by a 3-0 margin.
de Lange, along with Joao Toledo, posted strong opportunities in the 26th and 29th minutes of action, but de Lange’s shot, a penalty kick, and Toledo’s blast from the edge of the penalty box were both saved on outstanding dives from Lindsey Wilson goalkeeper David Coffey as the Bears couldn’t make a dent into Lindsey Wilson advantage at any juncture during the opening half of competition.
In the second half, however, Shawnee State looked to be poised to flip the script on that result. Over the opening seven minutes of action, the Bears took control as SSU posted four shots to Lindsey Wilson’s one.
That early advantage during the second half of competition allowed the Bears to claim their first salvo of the contest as de Lange, who had a shot saved in the 49th minute of play, came back with the help of fellow Netherlands native Thomas de Graauw en route to getting the Bears on the board. de Graauw, who launched an outstanding shot attempt, had his opportunity knocked away by Coffey, but de Lange never quit following the ball, and on the deflection, fired home a rebound shot on the far side of the field to put Shawnee State within a 3-1 tally in the 51st minute of action.
However, as quickly as the Bears worked their way back into the game, Shawnee State couldn’t hold back two strong runs from Lindsey Wilson. In the 56th and 57th minutes of play, Oscar Dueso scored on a fastbreak opportunity while Shackelford snuck a ball in on the backside post to turn a tight 3-1 match into a 5-1 margin that was blown completely open later by Shackleford, who scored his fourth goal of the contest in the 67th minute to finalize the score.
With the setback, Shawnee State will bid their farewells to Chris Jones, Hunter Miles, Jacob Perry, Bryce Romanello, and Cole Peterson — the five seniors who finished their eligibility in 2019 with the Bears’ men’s soccer program.
They hold the distinction of leading the 2019 men’s soccer program at Shawnee State to a tie for its best overall record at 9-9-1 overall — a feat that only the 2011 team has ever matched before in the history of the program. The group also led the SSU men’s soccer program to its first two conference victories since 2016, and were 3-2-1 in games decided by a goal or less in 2019. Jones appeared in each of the 19 games that SSU participated in as a team in 2019, with 17 starts, while Romanello added 18 appearances and 16 starts to his own line. Perry battled through and overcame injury to make 15 appearances and seven starts while Miles and Peterson were important cogs to the unit, with the former being a multi-year letterman for the Bears.
In addition to the seniors, the contest also served as the final game for Shawnee State assistant coach Mark Trapp. Trapp, the longtime assistant coach to Ron Goodson, will be departing the program after coaching for 18 seasons with the Bears.
With his goal on Saturday, de Lange moved into second place in a single season for points, with 41. The sophomore, who finished just seven tallies shy of Jeff Suter’s record of 48 points back in 1992, posted the third-most goals in a single season (16) and tied Chad Johnston for second all-time in assists in a single season (nine) with his output in 2019. de Lange will enter the 2020 campaign tied for third all-time in goals (30) and fourth in both assists (15) and points (75) in a career — with two full seasons left to play at Shawnee State.
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