One early, one late: Harding Men's Soccer defeats Southern Nazarene

From Harding University

Harding men's soccer scored a goal in the second minute and another in the final minute to defeat Southern Nazarene 2-0 on Thursday in Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association action.

Harding evened its overall record at 3-3-0 with the victory and moved to 1-1-0 in the MIAA. Southern Nazarene lost its eighth straight to open the season and fell to 0-2-0 in conference.

Just 1 minute, 46 seconds into the game, Harding sophomore forward Ian Park scored a goal after receiving a cross from junior midfielder Ryan Wilhelm. It was only the sixth time in program history and the first time in nearly seven years that Harding scored a goal in the game's first two minutes. Ben Faris scored at 1:26 against Delta State in 2005.

With the goal, Park became the first Bison this season to score multiple goals. It was Park's team-leading second goal. Six other players have one.

"That early goal really took the pressure off of us," Harding head coach Odie Guzman said.

Both teams continue to pour on the offensive pressure after the opening goal, Harding in an attempt to extend its lead and Southern Nazarene looking for the equalizer. The Bisons had a 7-5 shot advantage in the first half, but both teams had 12 shots in the second half.

"Southern Nazarene was really hungry for their first victory of the season," Guzman said. "They thought they could play with us, and that is what they did."

In the second half, Harding freshman goalkeeper Chase Keeney made eight of his nine saves. Keeney missed Harding's last game with Northeastern State after suffering a concussion in the previous game.

"Chase made two spectacular saves in the second half," Guzman said. "He really kept us in the game."

Harding's second goal came with just 12 seconds left in the game. Senior Josh Ireland crossed the ball to his younger brother, freshman Josiah Ireland, who scored his first collegiate goal to seal the victory.

The shutout was Harding's second of the season and second for Keeney. The last time Harding earned a road shutout in a conference game was a 4-0 Gulf South Conference victory over Alabama-Huntsville in 2008.

The game was Harding's third straight road game and snapped a two-game skid. The Bisons next opponent is 15th-ranked Fort Hays State. The teams will meet Saturday in Hays, Kan., at 1 p.m.