BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University men’s soccer (8-5-3, 2-1-1 SBC) downed Howard (2-9-3, 0-4-0 SBC) in a 3-0 triumph on Senior Day at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
With the win, the Black and Gold secured its first winning season since 2012, while it’s the highest finish in the Sun Belt for the Mountaineers since joining the conference in 2014.
“It’s a massive result for us for a number of reasons,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “That basically checked off every goal we set, a winning record is guaranteed, a winning Sun Belt record, a bye, and our seventh shutout. A lot of massive things, but the biggest one is getting third place in the league and giving us a bye.”
App State will be the third seed in the Sun Belt Conference and will face No. 2 seed Georgia Southern on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in Statesboro, Ga.
Appalachian dominated on both sides of the field with its seventh shutout of the season and limiting the Bison to a season low in SOG with just one.
After going scoreless in the past three contests, the offense got back on track tying a season high in goals and shots on goal with 10.
It only took the first 20 minutes of the contest for the Apps to strike when Camden Holbrook (Cary, N.C./Page) took advantage of a mistake by the Howard goalkeeper and gave App the 1-0 lead with this team-high sixth goal of the season.
App State shutout the Bison offense with zero shot attempts in the first half and went into the break with the 1-0 edge.
Ten minutes into the second period, Ian Bennett (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) took a perfect ball from Austin Hill (Graham, N.C./Southern Alamance) and fired in a beautiful shot in the net for his third score of the season and pushed the App lead to 2-0.
The Mountaineers weren’t done yet, as Alex Hernandez (Asheboro, N.C./Asheboro) took the Charlie Baird (Nottinghamshire, England/Outwood Academy) feed into the box and vollied the shot over the Bison GK to balloon the advantage to three scores.
App cruised the rest of the way with to improve its home mark to 4-1-2.
Jake Chasteen (Blowing Rock, N.C./Watauga) recorded his seventh clean sheet of the season, which puts the senior in a tie for the second most shutouts in a single season in program history.
Fitting for the trio of Chasteen, Bennett and Felix Kollmannthaler (Frankfurt, Germany/Julius-Echter Gymnasium), all three played a pivotal role in the win. With senior trainer, Lindsay Honkomp and senior manager Jordan Salamido, Bennett, Chasteen, and Kollmannthaler were honored before the game.
“Sending the seniors out as winners were the biggest thing tonight,” O’Keefe continued. They’ve been through a lot since I got here. To see them go out on top with a winning season, a lot of momentum and confidence that they can play with anybody on any given day, it was fantastic. For Jake and Felix to get a shutout and Ian to get a goal, it couldn’t have been a better script on Senior Day for those three.”