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Cougars Defeat the Fire in Rematch of 2009 National Championship

(9/16/10) The Clearwater Christian College men's soccer team defeated Southeastern University 1-0 in a rematch of the 2009 NCCAA D2 National Championship match. Tyler Spraul scored the game winner in the first half off a free kick from 30 yards out in the 20th minute. The win was the 3rd straight win for the Cougars over the Fire including last year's National Championship game.

Clearwater started the match strong, putting the Fire under pressure and creating several opportunities to score. In the 20th minute, Juan Robayo was fouled by a Fire defender to set up Spraul's brilliant strike into the upper left corner. Toward the end of the first half, Southeastern had its best chance to score off a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box but the shot deflected off the crossbar and the Cougars went to the half up 1-0.

As the 2nd half wore on, Southeastern began to exert more and more pressure on the Cougar goal as Clearwater sat back and the Fire pushed forward to try and get the equalizing goal. Each Fire attack was snuffed out by outstanding defensive play led by senior Jeff Crews and solid goalkeeping from sophomore Anthony DeRosse. As Southeastern began to push more and more numbers forward, Clearwater was able to create several chances on the counterattack late in the match to try and get their second goal but couldn't capitalize.

Coach Whitaker had this to say about the huge win: "I'm really proud of the way our guys battled against Southeastern tonight. This was a huge win for us. They are such a quality team and to play the way we did with so many guys out says a lot about the character of this team. Anthony and Jeff really came up big for us all game, and Tyler scored another clutch goal for us."

The shutout was the Cougars 5th shutout in 6 matches on the season. With the win, the Cougars improve to 5-1 on the season and will next play at Eckerd College (NCAA II) on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.