Men's Soccer Loses in Overtime, Rifai Scores Two
Friday, September 8, 2006

Files associated with this release:
Final Stats - Lipscomb at Centenary
Final Stats - Oral Roberts vs. Georgia Southern

Freshman Stephen Rifai scored
his first two collegiate goals

SHREVEPORT, La. -- A hat trick by freshman Kezi Lara led Lipscomb University (2-3-0) to a 4-3 win in overtime over the Centenary men’s soccer team (1-3-0) in the Centenary Invitational Friday at Mayo Field.

After Centenary fought back to tie the game late in regulation time, Lara broke behind the Gents defense and received a through-ball by teammate Earnesto Rosales. With a Centenary defender on his back near the right side of the penalty area, Lara chipped the ball into the top of the net to score the game-winning goal a little over three minutes into overtime.

Very active around the net, Lara had scored two previous goals in the contest, jumping on loose balls inside the six-yard penalty area.

Despite playing with nine players to Lipscomb’s 11 for the final 10 minutes of play, Centenary sent the game to overtime on a goal by freshman Stephen Rifai (Spring, Texas/Klein), who had two goals in the loss.

After trapping the ball on his chest at the top of the box, Rifai curved a low shot into the lower left corner of the net in the 86th minute, sending the game into overtime. Rifai did well to get the shot off quickly, as several players from Lipscomb were charging at the ball to block the shot.

After goals by Rosales and Lara gave the Bisons a 2-0 lead, it was Rifai who gave the Gents a much-needed spark, scoring his first collegiate goal in the 68th minute to cut the deficit to a goal.

On the goal, sophomore Will Todd (Lafayette, La./Lafayette) sent a high ball into the Lipscomb penalty area, causing Bisons goalkeeper Danny Prichard to come out an play the ball. With Prichard’s arms extended to play the high ball, Rifai flicked the service with his head, deflecting the ball over Prichard and into an unmanned goal.

Down 2-1 and in the 72nd minute, referee Adam Garner called a penalty kick after a Centenary player was taken down inside the Lipscomb penalty area.

On the attempt, junior Osama Buazza (Houston/Mayde Creek) tucked the ball just inside the right post to tie the game at 2-2.

The jubilation for the Gents was short-lived, as just six minutes following Buazza’s goal, junior Brody Sager (Arlington, Texas/James W. Martin) picked up his second yellow card caution of the contest, causing Centenary to play two men down. Also receiving a red card in the contest was Centenary junior Ben Caldarera (Katy, Texas/Katy Taylor), who, along with Sager, must sit out the next game for the Gents.

Just three minutes following Sager’s ejection, Lara scored his second goal, giving the Bisons a 3-2 advantage.

It was a tale of two halves, according to Centenary head coach Eric Mayo, describing Friday’s loss to Lipscomb.

"In the first half we showed our lack of discipline, which obviously cost us the game," Mayo said. "I’m very proud of how the team played in the second half to send it into overtime."

Prichard made two saves in the win for Lipscomb. Juniors Donnie Henderson (Houston/Westfield) and James Speed (Corpus Christi, Texas/King) combined to make five saves in the loss for Centenary.

In the other game of the Centenary Invitational, Oral Roberts defeated Georgia Southern, 5-1. Leading the Golden Eagles in the win was freshman forward Juan Chang, who registered his first-career hat trick.

All four teams will be back in action Saturday, as Oral Roberts faces Lipscomb at 5 p.m. and Centenary battles Georgia Southern at 7:30 p.m. Admission to all games is free.