Men’s soccer team outlasts Ranger to advance to the Region 5 Championship

  Jessyca Brown
  Monday, October 16, 2023 12:21 PM

Hillsboro, TX

Grit, patience, endurance and determination helped the Hill College Men’s Soccer team overcome adversity in a 2-0 win over Ranger in the final game of the regular season Oct. 13 at Gateway Park in Fort Worth.

More importantly, that win also secured the Rebels a spot in the Region 5 Championship against Western Texas College Oct. 25 at Howard Payne University in Brownwood.

“It’s never easy to play a must-win game,” Hill College Head Men’s Soccer Coach Dejan “Milo” Milosevic said. “The men showed great mentality and never seemed to panic. Our game plan was to stay focused, do what we do, play our game and minimize the mistakes on the defensive end. We knew that we would have our chances and we finally capitalized in the 70th minute which then opened up the game where we were able to score one more goal and close the game in our advantage.”

Hill College freshman midfielder Stefan Radovanovic (Medvedja, Serbia) scored both goals against Ranger in the team’s must-win season finale matchup.

“Stefan has been a very valuable player for our team this season,” Milosevic said. “In the beginning, it took him some time to adjust to the style of play and just living in the USA. Once he adjusted, he started playing very well. Another great thing about Stefan is that he performs the best in tight matches.”

Radovanovic’s first goal came at the 70:00 mark, assisted by freshman forward Mane Birovljev (Belgrade, Serbia). His final goal was made following a penalty kick with only eight minutes remaining in regulation.

Milosevic said the win against Ranger was necessary for Hill College to advance to the Region 5 Finals because they had tied in their first series matchup and, at the time, Ranger also had one extra win than the Rebels.

“We were prepared for [Ranger’s] game plan,” Milosevic added. “There weren’t any surprises on our end. We knew what they had. We stuck to our game plan and were able to come out victorious in the end.”

Hill College will be playing for its fifth Region 5 Championship since 2014. The Rebels have played Western Texas College twice so far this season – losing both games (2-1 on Sept. 15 in Snyder; and 2-0 on Oct. 6 in Fort Worth) - but Milosevic isn’t worried about those previous losses against the Westerners.

“We are very excited to be in the situation to hopefully win Region 5 this season,” Milosevic said. “We respect WTC and all the success that they have had these past few years. They are a very good team, proving that again this year. We respect them, but we don’t fear them. We feel like we are right there with them quality wise.”

Milosevic said despite the two losses to WTC, his team was competitive in both games this season.

“We were right there with them,” he added. “They already beat us twice due to our mistakes. Hopefully, we will learn from those prior mistakes and not repeat them in the final game. We are the underdogs in this matchup, but we will make sure to do everything in our power to come out victorious. The men have come a long way since Day One, and I am confident that they will be ready to perform in the most important game of the season.”

The upcoming Region 5 Championship will begin with the Hill College Women’s Soccer team playing Ranger Oct. 25 in Brownwood beginning at 1 p.m.; followed by the Hill College Men’s Team facing Western Texas College at 3 p.m. Both games will also be streamed courtesy of Howard Payne University. Check the Hill College social media posts for links to the live stream.