LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. ( Nov. 12, 2022 )– For the first time in the history of the Continental Athletic Conference a program has won the conference title for three consecutive years in men’s soccer. The Bellevue University Bruins handed Florida National its second loss of the season with a goal scored in the opening minute of the CAC Championship final. This is the second year in a row that FNU has fallen to Bellevue at this juncture of the season by the same score.
Both teams won their respective semifinal matches on November 11 by one impressive goal from their star players. The Bruins executed a crackling goal to push the now 7-10-3 Bruins past Georgia Gwinnett. FNU’s Marcos Bakale took a deep shot from beyond the penalty area that nestled in the back corner of the net which solidified the Conquistadors’ 1-0 victory over RV Viterbo.
Less than a minute into the match, Bellevue’s Jake Cover broke free from FNU’s impressive back line and placed a near-perfect shot in the lower right corner of the net just past goalkeeper Victor Ruiz. The Bruins rushed to congratulate their teammates’ early match heroics as FNU looked to shack off their uncharacteristic mistake on defense. To FNU’s credit, Cover’s goal was the only shot recorded by the Bruins in the half, as the Conquistadors were able to collect three attempts at goal before halftime. The Conquistadors also lead the match in corner kicks with three to Bellevue’s one for the opening period.
As the game progressed, tensions were high as yellow cards seemed to come out in abundance on both sides. The Bruins picked up five yellow cards, while the Conquistadors picked up four yellows and had defender Henrique Jordao sent off with a red card just 37 minutes into the match.
In the second half, Florida National struggled to get shots off on offense only recording two in the final half of the contest. In the 89-minute, a foul on Bellevue set up a free kick for Artur Palmeira just outside the penalty area on the right of the field. Palmeira delivered a dangerous strike that was batted away by CAC All-Conference keeper Romeo Paparesta. With the time expired, FNU had fallen short of the conference title despite a resilient effort the entire championship weekend.
Up Next: FNU men’s soccer awaits the November 14 selection show for the opening round of the NAIA Tournament.