Duhawks remain unbeaten after MSOE title, Oshkosh draw
(PHOTO: Jim Naprstek)
(PHOTO: Jim Naprstek)
Thu, Sep. 12, 2013 - [Men's Soccer]

BY Loras College Sports Information Office & Jim Naprstek

Loras, 3

Calvin, 2


Loras, 3

North Park, 0


Loras, 0

UW-Oshkosh, 0


With the first three games under their belt, the Loras College Duhawks made their way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the second weekend of the season. Friday's match of the Milwaukee School of Engineering's (MSOE) Raider Invitational was against Calvin College, the program that ended the 2011 season for the Duhawks in the Rock Bowl. 


Despite Calvin's 0-2-0 record coming into the match, Head Coach Dan Rothert knew that this was still a difficult opponent that Loras could not look past.


"We're going to treat this like an NCAA Tournament weekend. We are excited and should be an early test for both teams," Rothert said.


The first half saw Calvin playing to their style, a fast and physical match, and it was the Knights who were directing the pace. Senior goalkeeper Dylan Milkent was called on early to make some stops, but was able to keep a clean sheet through the first 45 minutes.


In the 38th minute, Loras earned a corner kick, but was unsuccessful on the first attempt. Calvin's clear only reached the top of the 18-yard box before sophomore Jorge Simon curled his shot up and over the defenders and into the far netting, putting the Duhawks ahead, 1-0.


The lead would carry into the halftime break, but wouldn't last much longer than that. Junior Travis Vegter, who came in with all three of Calvin's goals, found space inside the Loras 18-yard box and worked his way into a scoring slot, netting the equalizer in the 52nd minute.


The pendulum swung back in favor of Loras when they scored in the 60th and 68th minutes courtesy of an own goal and a 60 yard kick from senior Dan Figura. His soaring shot bounced once inside the penalty area before going up and over Calvin goalkeeper Andrew Claucherty.


"I just tried to put it on frame and make something happen and I guess I hit it just right," Figura said.


At the time, Figura's tally made it 3-1, but Calvin once again came firing back. Just eight minutes after the third goal for Loras, sophomore Sam Strong found himself inside the penalty area with a loose ball. With one touch he was able to send it past Milkent to bring the Knights' deficit back to one goal.


Despite increased pressure in the final 14 minutes, Loras was able to preserve the one goal lead and win 3-2. The victory put the Duhawks in position to claim the tournament championship the next day against North Park. The Vikings defeated the host MSOE Raiders 2-0 in their first game of the event.


These two squads were meeting for the first time since a rain soaked match in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Soccer Tournament at the Rock Bowl. In that contest, it was the Duhawks who got a late tally from Tim van den Bergh to seal the victory.


When the opening whistle blew, both teams used the first minutes to get a feel for how the other would play. For North Park, they repeatedly looked to maintain possession and create offense through their short passing. For Loras it was quite the opposite. They used their speed and quickness to provide defensive pressure with the hopes of turning it into a counter attack.


"We knew they were going to come in technical and try to play their style," junior Johnny Rummelhart said, "We just wanted to make them frustrated."


The first break for Loras came in the 23rd minute when the Duhawks earned a throw-in deep in Viking territory. Junior Tom Fluegel sent a bouncing ball past the front part of the attacking group, where it would get just enough air for senior Erik Berkowitz to flick it towards the back netting, putting Loras up 1-0. Even though the header represented all the scoring for the first half, the goal certainly gave the Duhawks a solid momentum swing, resulting in continued pressure and the beginnings of a breakdown with North Park's approach.


The start of the second half brought more of the swarm that Loras had displayed in the opening half. It wouldn't be long before Rummelhart showcased his blazing speed.


Finding the ball at his feet near the attacking third, Rummelhart quickly pushed it ahead of him and proceeded to outwork and outhustle two Viking defenders. Once past them, it was just he and the goalkeeper, who he took care of by slotting his shot away from his outstretched arms to give his team a two goal lead.


Just two minutes later, Tom Fluegel received a through ball from van den Bergh and found himself one-on-one with the keeper, sending his shot far post and driving the nail into the coffin.


"Our attack wore down North Park's backline in the first half and we were able to impose our will on them in the second," Assistant Coach Matt Pucci said. "Johnny and Fluegel finished off their chances early and killed the game off."


The remaining time would consist of attempts from North Park trying to generate offense, but senior Dylan Milkent was determined to preserve the clean sheet. As time expired the Duhawks moved to 4-0-1 in 2013.


On Wednesday night the team was back in Wisconsin with a new ranking (#5) to take on another top-25 team, #14 UW-Oshkosh. These two teams locked horns for a total of 110 minutes, but went home with a scoreless draw.


The first 45 minutes was full of action in front of the Oshkosh goal as Loras built a 9-1 advantage in shots taken and 3-1 advantage on corner kicks. The Titans answered in the second half with an 8-3 advantage in shots taken– but were also unable to convert.


Dylan Milkent needed to make three saves over the first 90 minutes, but none in overtime. Oshkosh's Sam Gabrilska needed five saves in regulation to forced overtime.


The Duhawks forced Gabrilska into three more saves in the first overtime period, but as they had done over each of their first four games, the Titans earned a shutout. It was the second tie on the young season for both teams.


Loras is back in the Rock Bowl this weekend, where they've won 18 consecutive games. Carroll will be the first foe on Saturday at 1:00 PM. On Sunday at the same time, the St. John's University Johnnies will be in the Rock Bowl to take on the Duhawks.