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2008 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Final Recap

December 06, 2008
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Dec. 6, 2008

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FRESNO, Calif.(Final Bracket) Bethel (Tenn.) College out-lasted the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) 2-1 in overtime tonight (Dec. 6) and is crowned the national champion in the 50th Annual NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship final. Hosted by Fresno Pacific (Calif.) University, the Wildcats take home their first title in the sport of men’s soccer. Tied 1-1 in the first overtime, Bethel freshman forward Mario Vila Boa flipped a 20-yard shot into the net just :15 seconds into the extra period. That goal extended the Wildcats’ unbeaten streak to 14 straight and finished their season at 17-5-2 overall.


“I’m very delighted and happy,” said Bethel head coach Melvin Belong, who is in his second season. “Our guys worked hard all season and it paid off. All season long we focused on playing with character and not giving up…I believe our character carried us  tonight.”

Neither team had many scoring opportunities in the first half due to some strong defense. There was just one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, placed by Rio Grande.


In the 59th minute, Rio Grande’s Ederson Lopes, who was named to the All-Tournament Team as a forward, gave the Red Storm a 1-0 advantage. Jason Massie assisted on the goal, which was Lopes’ 24th marker of the year. That goal allowed was the first in five games for the Bethel defense and goaltender Massimo Collu-Marchese.


Erick Rosas tied the score up at 1-1 in the 71st minute. He took a feed from Joseph Omondi and gave the Bethel fans some hope with time running out.


The Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, Vila Boa did not waste any time as the extra period started. He took a long mid-field pass from Armando Orozco and beat the goalie to the ball in the box before nailing the game-winner.


The game had a physical style with 32 fouls whistled and seven yellow cards issued.


Rio Grande, appearing in its eighth straight NAIA postseason, finishes its campaign at 19-4-1.


Game Notes:

The Tournament MVP, Mario Vila Boa, scored three goals in four games at the National Championship final site… Bethel ends Championship play by out-scoring its opposition by a 14-1 margin in five games… This Championship final was the first played for Bethel and the second for Rio Grande… Rio Grande falls to 1-1 all-time in the final – the Red Storm won the 2003 Championship… The National Championship has been won by a different team in each of the last seven seasons… With Oklahoma City getting eliminated as the No. 1 seed, just one top seed has now won the national title in the last seven Championships (Azusa Pacific in 2007).


2008 NAIA Men's Soccer All-Tournament Team:

Alex Stout, Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio), Jr.

Nate Walzer, Rio Grande (Ohio), Sr.

Mario Vila Boa, Bethel (Tenn.), Fr.

Adam Worrall, Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio), Sr.

Ederson Lopes, Rio Grande (Tenn.), So.

Paul Nicholson, Rio Grande (Ohio), Sr.

Felix Obilo, Bethel (Tenn.), So.

Alex Gang, Oklahoma City, So.

Jason Massie, Rio Grande (Ohio), Jr.
Armondo Orozco, Bethel (Tenn.), So.

Zach Patterson, Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio), Sr.

Keith Brown, Bethel (Tenn.), Sr.

Mark Ross, Rio Grande (Ohio), Fr.

Joseph Omondi, Bethel (Tenn.), Fr.

Most Valuable Player of the Tournament:
Mario Vila Boa, Bethel (Tenn.), Fr.


Offensive Player of the Tournament:

Mario Vila Boa, Bethel (Tenn.), Fr.

Defensive Player of the Tournament:
Paul Nicholson, Rio Grande (Ohio), Sr.


Champions of Character Brine-NAIA Scholarship Recipient:

Jacob Child, Notre Dame (Ohio), So.


Nels Dahlquist Memorial Team Sportsmanship Award:

Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) University

Championship Information

NAIA Men's Soccer Championship
Sport Rules - Soccer (M)
Official Merchandise-Men's Soccer