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SAA semifinals tonight at Oglethorpe

by Jason Longshore

It's not rare that the bracket actually works the way it's supposed to, but that's what we have tonight in the Southern Athletic Association men's soccer semifinals in Brookhaven. The hosts Oglethorpe are the #1 seed and will face the #4 seed Sewanee in the nightcap after #2 Rhodes battles #3 Centre for a spot in the final on Sunday.

The Colonels from Centre have won 3 of the last 5 conference tournaments, and are back here after a rough year last year. Freshman John Palomino was named the conference Newcomer of the Year after scoring five goals and adding four assists in his first campaign. Rhodes went 11-1-3 overall this season and didn't lose a conference match, however their two draws allowed them to get passed by Oglethorpe for the regular season crown. Lynx goalkeeper Nate Slota only allowed eight goals in fifteen starts. Defender Eli Pilcher was named the SAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Sewanee tries to play spoiler in the nightcap against the Stormy Petrels. They're led by Tyler Cozzie who was named to the SAA All-Conference 1st team with six goals on the year. He was joined on the All-Conference team by Tyler Scott who add three goals form his role on the backline. Oglethorpe's high-flying attack was led by the SAA Offensive Player of the Year Ben Alram, who scored eleven goals and had seven assists. He was joined on the All-Conference by his attacking running mates JR Cozine and Adrian Levy. Oglethorpe defender Daniel Amah also made the All-Conference team.

Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin was named the SAA Coach of the Year, his ninth conference coach of the year award in his career. The quarterfinal win last weekend was win #200 for Akin in his time at Oglethorpe. You can join us in Brookhaven, be on the lookout for some social media updates @SoccerDownhere, and watch the games on the Oglethorpe Sports Network starting at 5pm.

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