Fri, Jan. 1, 2010 - [Men's Soccer]
Another banner year for the Loras College men's soccer team in 2009 came to an end in the NCAA Sweet 16 after 20 wins, 65 goals scored, and several individual awards. The Duhawks made their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championships and played each of their post season games in 2009 on their home field. Head coach Dan Rothert led the team to an 8-0 record in the Iowa Conference for the second time in three years (outscoring opponents 28-4) and at one point won 14 consecutive games, including a perfect 10-0 in October. Rothert was voted the IIAC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career in 2009.
Santiago Mejia's career came to an end as a first team All American (his third selection after appearing on the second and third teams once each), IIAC MVP, and Loras' all time assist leader (58). He was also only the third player in IIAC history to be named first team All-IIAC in each of his four seasons. Miguel Bonilla became Loras' all time leader in goals (45) and points (106) through just three seasons of play and also earned a spot on the NSCAA All-American list (3rd team). Matt Splittgerber, Nate Minkel, and Nick Rizzo also ended their careers after appearing on the All-IIAC list three times. Minkel and Splittgerber's names also appeared on the All-Region list alongside Mejia and Bonilla.
Following Bonilla and Mejia on the stats sheet with at least ten points were Nick Rizzo (7G, 2A), Donald St. George (6G, 3A), and Nate Minkel (3G, 4A). A total of 12 players scored multiple goals during the season, and 15 total Duhawks netted at least one. Adam Kelsch and Dan Wickman combined to concede just 16 goals in 24 games, good for a 0.65 goals against average and 12 shutouts.
The All-IIAC list included six Duhawks, and four more earned Honorable Mention. On the All-IIAC first team were Mejia, Bonilla, Rizzo, Minkel, and Splittgerber. AJ Josephs was a second team pick, and St. George, Matt Lamale, Tyler Hoyt, and Tom Jennings each garnered the special mention.
A total of 10 Duhawks completed their careers in 2009. Together they totaled 85 goals (each scored at least once) and 95 assists on their way to an astonishing 76 wins, four NCAA Division III tournament appearances, and two trips to the Final Four. In 2009, Loras was the top team in the North Region throughout the fall and it marked the third consecutive season the Duhawks appeared in the top ten in the final national poll of the season, finishing 7th this year.