HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Mars Hill used two first-half goals by Alex Mullen and Stephen Bivens to defeat Coker, the top seed in the Southeast Region and fifth-ranked team in the nation, 2-1, in the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship First Round on Friday night.
"This is another monumental step for the Mars Hill men's soccer program," Mars Hill head coach Ian Clerihew stated. "Give all credit to Coker. They have a fantastic team and are very worthy of the No. 1 ranking in the region. We needed both goals and some timely defending late in the game to get this fantastic result."
Mullen opened the scoring in the seventh minute of the match. He took a corner kick from Gregg Munn and headed the ball past Cobras' goalkeeper James Sweeney to give the the Lions the early upper hand.
Bivens scored what proved to be the match-winner in the 41st minute. Troy Chavez fed the ball into the box, and Bivens headed the ball over Sweeney's head for his third goal of the NCAA playoffs.
Coker (18-3) cut the deficit in half in the 83rd minute of the match. Fernando Bedoya found the back of the net on an assist from Stephen Scrivens, but Mars Hill goalkeeper Zac Scott stoned the Cobras' rally attempt in the final seven minutes to preserve the victory.
Scott made four saves in the match. Sweeney made one save.
Mars Hill has outscored Coker, 5-1, in the last two matchups dating back to last season. The Lions have outscored their opponents, 5-1, in the first two NCAA Tournament games in the program's history.
The fourth-seed Lions (13-5-1) advance to the Second Round to face Flagler (16-3-2), the second seed and 10th-ranked team in the country, on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. Flagler defeated sixth-seed Lees-McRae, 2-1, in double overtime in the first match of the day played at Coker.