WICHITA — Even a 2-1 loss Tuesday night to arch rival Friends in the regular-season finale wasn’t enough to damper the spirits of the Southwestern College men’s soccer team.
Tied 1-1 at halftime, the Moundbuilders (10-8, 6-6 KCAC) learned via other KCAC results that they had clinched a spot in the KCAC Tournament for the first time since they began accepting the top eight rather every team in the conference. All that was left to be determined was their final seeding.
Southwestern coach Kyle Pond rested some players with nagging injuries after playing their third game four days.
“We had some guys banged up,” Kyle Pond said. “We thought it was best to give those guys some rest as we look forward to the playoffs.”
Senior Ram Keller scored on a penalty kick in the 14th minute to give Southwestern a 1-0 lead.
Teylor Cubero tied it 11 minutes later for the Falcons (14-2-1, 10-1-1), the second-place finisher in the KCAC.
Ander Linares scored the game-winner in the 63rd minute.
The Builders, who suffered their third straight one-goal loss, tied for eighth in the KCAC with Bethel (7-11, 6-6), but won the head-to-head tiebreaker, having defeated the Threshers 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 2 in North Newton.
Southwestern will take on top-seeded and KCAC regular-season champion Oklahoma Wesleyan (15-3, 11-1) in the KCAC Tournament quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday in Bartlesville, Okla.
“We know people are going to be counting us out against a very good Oklahoma Wesleyan team,” Pond said. “The way I see it is the road to Nationals goes through them anyway, no matter what round you face them in.”
The Eagles defeated the Builders 3-0 on Oct. 19 in Bartlesville.