Cooper Gaypia's goal early in the second half pulled No. 4 seed University of Mount Olive within a goal and goalkeeper Nick Bernsdorf kept UMO in the match with a school record 14 saves, including a save on a penalty kick - his fourth pk save of the tournament - but top-seeded and nationally top-ranked Pfeiffer University held on for a 3-1 victory over the Trojans in the semifinal round of the 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Soccer Tournament Friday at Misenheimer, N.C. The Trojans stayed within a goal until the 85th minute despite playing most of the second half a man down.
Mount Olive (8-9-1) trailed 2-0 at halftime, but got on the scoreboard at the 56:07 mark. Stephen Faria's shot hit the left post, but Gaypia captured the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net to draw the Trojans within 2-1.
Pfeiffer (19-0-0) gained a man advantage just four minutes later when a Trojan player received two yellow cards in a span of two minutes.
Bernsdorf was called for a foul in the box in the 74th minute, giving the Falcons their second penalty kick opportunity of the match. But Bernsdorf, who recorded three saves in a penalty kick shootout against King in the first round, dove to his right and blocked the shot attempt by Conference Carolinas Player of the Year and NCAA Division II goal-scoring leader Nathan Regis.
"I think Nick had something to prove in this tournament after not getting selected to the All-Conference Team," said Trojan head coach Godfrey Miller. "I believe Nick showed that he's one of the top goalkeepers in the conference."
Pfeiffer was able to add an insurance goal at 84:50 on a 35-yard free kick by Martim Galvao that found the upper 90 just out of Bernsdorf's reach.
The Falcons opened the scoring just eight minutes into the match on a goal by Jamie Siaj. Coach Miller and Trojan fans were looking for an offside call, but the linesman ruled there was a Mount Olive defender beyond Siaj. Regis converted a penalty kick in the 26th minute after a handball in the box was called against the Trojans.
Miller was proud of the team's effort, not just Friday night, but the entire season.
"Despite getting down early tonight, the guys never quit," said Miller. "We executed our game plan much better in the second half and came close to tying it up. But overall, it's been a great season and I'm proud of our guys."