Four Conference Titles | Five All-Americans | Three Academic All-Americans

@CentreSoccer Rolls into SAA Final with 4-1 Win at Oglethorpe

@CentreSoccer Rolls into SAA Final with 4-1 Win at Oglethorpe

ATLANTA (CentreColonels.com) – The Centre men's soccer team advanced to its first Southern Athletic Association (SAA) championship game since 2012 with a convincing 4-1 victory at top-seeded Oglethorpe in an SAA semifinal matchup on Friday night in Atlanta.

The Colonels boosted their record to 13-5 on the season with the triumph, while the top-seeded Stormy Petrels fall to 7-6-3 on the year. Centre has now captured four straight victories by a combined score of 16-2.

The Colonels will face off with Millsaps in the SAA championship match on Sunday afternoon after the second-seeded Majors defeated Berry 4-1 in the first semifinal contest on Friday night.

Centre would get on the board first on Friday night as senior midfielder Phil Shehan (Orlando, Fla.) blasted his SAA-leading 12th goal to the upper-90 in the 25th minute to put the Colonels on top 1-0.

After Centre took the one-goal lead into the break, senior defender Henry Lynch's (Nashville, Tenn.) diving header off the feed by senior midfielder Eric Muth (Louisville, Ky.) pushed the Colonels' advantage to 2-0 just over five minutes into the second half.

Junior forward Noah Wesley-Chevalier (Cincinnati, Ohio) belted a 30-yard free kick to the left upper-90 to give Centre a three-score lead in the 68th minute of action.

Ten minutes later, the hosts ended the shutout when Hudson Fennell found the back of the net off the assist by Jose Perez, shrinking the Colonels' lead to 3-1 with just over 12 minutes showing on the clock.

In the 86th minute of play, Centre extended its lead back to three goals when freshman midfielder Carson Hart (Hickory, N.C.) netted his first career goal to cap the semifinal victory for the Colonels.

Centre earned the win despite being outshot 18-8 in the contest.

Colonel sophomore goaltender Bailey Spade (Frankfort, Ky.) made seven saves for Centre. Spade ranks second in the SAA in with a 0.92 goals against average on the season. 

Lynch and Wesley-Chevalier led the Colonels with two shots apiece in the win. Shehan paces the SAA in goals (12), points (28) and game-winning goals (4). 

Sunday's SAA championship match is slated for a 12 p.m. start at Oglethorpe. Millsaps slipped past the Colonels 2-1 in double overtime earlier this season. Centre is 5-1 since the loss to the Majors, outscoring opponents 19-3 during that span.

The Colonels are seeking their sixth conference championship and first conference tournament crown since 1991, when Centre defeated Trinity (Texas) 3-2 in overtime to capture the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament championship. The SCAC did not sponsor a conference tournament from 1993-2010. The Colonels won SCAC championships in 1990, '91, '94, '95 and an SAA regular season title in 2012.

Centre can earn the SAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament with a win on Sunday as well. The Colonels last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, defeating Ohio Wesleyan 2-1 in overtime in the first round before falling to Wheaton (Ill.) in the second round of play.