Playoff hopes in limbo

Eastern’s Ryan McClanahan, right, keeps the ball away from West Texas A&M’s Freddy Montes on Wednesday.

By Mickey Winfield

The ENMU men’s soccer team was in a position to secure the program’s first playoff berth after building a 2-0 halftime lead against rival West Texas A&M.

However, playoff-bound West Texas A&M scored four unanswered second-half goals en route to a 4-2 win Wednesday which put ENMU’s playoff hopes in limbo.

Even with the loss, however, the Greyhounds (4-10-3, 1-5-2) are likely to earn a berth in the Southwest Soccer Conference playoffs.

Missouri Southern, which is winless in conference play, would have to win its two remaining matches against the league top two teams to knock ENMU out of a playoff berth.

Greyhound head coach Carlos Elizondo voiced his frustration after the game.

“Words can’t describe how disappointed I am,” Elizondo said. “The team is very disappointed as well.”

The Hounds scored first when senior Babila Nketi headed a deflected corner kick past the West Texas goalkeeper with 7:47 remaining in the first half.

Less than two minutes later, West Texas was called for a foul in the penalty box. Freshman midfielder Ryan McClanahan scored giving the Hounds a 2-0 halftime lead.

The script was flipped in the second half.

Junior Kenneth Christensen scored the Buffs’ first goal of the game on a penalty kick at 57:05 in the second.

WT (7-6-3, 4-3-1 SSC) tied the game in the 64th minute when junior midfielder Rene Gomez slipped a shot underneath Greyhound goal keeper Leif Craddock on a pass from sophomore forward Itamar Keinan.
In the 71st minute, freshman midfielder Jacob Jensen dribbled through the ENMU defense and shot the ball past Craddock, to give West Texas their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Espanho Da Costa scored WT’s final goal in the 85th minute when he headed Jaime Gonzales’ cross into the upper right corner.

Elizondo said the Hounds are going to have to play better if they make the playoffs.”

“They’re going to have to be perfect, because we’ll play Midwestern, and Midwestern right now is perfect,” Elizondo said.

Craddock, who’s brother was across the field as the West Texas goal keeper, echoed Elizondo’s sentiments.

“It was way disappointing to have a 2-0 lead, and then to lose it 4-2, (to give up) 4 goals in one half is unacceptable,” Craddock said.

ENMU has a win and a tie against Missouri Southern and therefore holds the tie-breaker edge in case of a tie.