Home stretch: Harding Men's Soccer plays Thursday in first of three in Searcy

Victor Moya
Victor Moya

From Harding University

The Harding men's soccer team begins a three-game homestand to close out the season Thursday when it hosts Southern Nazarene in MIAA action beginning at 7 p.m., at Harding Soccer Field.

Harding is 4-8-3 overall and 2-4-1 in the MIAA. The Bisons are still mathematically alive for a berth in the MIAA Tournament but will need to win each of its last three games and get some help to qualify.

The Bisons also have a chance to tie the program record for victories in a season. Harding won seven games in both 2002 and 2003. Head coach Odie Guzman's team needs two wins in the last three games to set a school record for conference victories in a season. In 2008, Harding won three Gulf South Conference games.

To reach those goals, Harding will have to reverse a recent stretch of unfavorable results. The Bisons have four losses and two ties in their last six outings after defeating Upper Iowa 3-0 on Sept. 28.

Junior Ryan Wilhelm has become Harding's leading goal scorer with three goals in the last six games and four for the season. He scored the Bisons' lone goal in a 2-1 loss at Lindenwood on Saturday in St. Charles, Mo.

Stephan Daley, a junior from Brampton, Ontario, made his first start of the season and of his career at goalkeeper against Lindenwood. He made three saves.

Southern Nazarene enters the game 1-14-0 overall and 1-6-0 in the MIAA. The Crimson Storm has lost its last five games since defeating Southwest Baptist 4-0 on Sept. 27 for its only victory of the season. Southern Nazarene is winless in seven road games.

Sophomore midfielder Hajime Chumpitaz has scored six of the Crimson Storm's 13 goals in 2012. Senior goalkeeper Blake Anderson has started all 15 games and has a 3.05 goals against average.

Harding won the first meeting this season with Southern Nazarene 2-0 on Sept. 20 in Bethany, Okla. Sophomore forward Ian Park scored the fourth-fastest goal in program history only one minute, 46 seconds into the game. Freshman Josiah Ireland added the final goal with 12 seconds left in regulation.