HASTINGS, Neb - For the Hastings College men's soccer team, their trip to Irvine seemed inevitable with their momentum they had built, but it was the Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears who will make the trip to California after upsetting the Broncos 3-2 at Lloyd Wilson Field on Saturday in the 2018 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Opening Round.
It took only 44 seconds for the Broncos (17-3, 11-0 GPAC) to fall behind in their match against the Battlin' Bears (17-4, 10-3 CCC) as Pablo Ferreira was able to get a penalty kick past Kieran Harrison (SO/Stoke, England).
The Battlin' Bears were able to keep the pressure going after the penalty kick, but all the pressure was only able to equate into a 41st minute goal, putting the Battlin' Bears ahead 2-0 heading into halftime.
In the first half, Hastings was outshot 13-2 overall and 10-1 with shots on goal, with Jonathan Lopez (SO/Omaha, NE) getting the sole shot on goal.
Hastings was able to get the offense going when Daniel Whitehall (SR/Warrington, England) he placed a perfect free kick past the stunned Bear keeper to get Hastings to within 2-1 very early in the second half.
The Battlin' Bears got back their two-goal lead in the 54th minute when Sky Swenson went from the assist column to the goal column.
Before the final goal of the match was scored, both teams found some trouble in the card department, with Hastings falling two men short from red cards issued to Callum Watson (FR/Chelmsford, England) and Nicholas Cudini (FR/Pocenia, Italy).
Whitehall was able to get Hastings to within one a final time with another goal in the 87th minute, and Hastings had their chances to get the equalizer, but feel short.
Leading the Broncos offensively was Whitehall, with all three of his shots on goal and two connecting with the net.
With the loss, the Broncos unfortunately see their 2018 campaign end, but Head Coach Tim Bohnenkamp and Co. will look to improve from this year.