Tue, Nov. 16, 2010 - [Men's Soccer]
The Loras College men's soccer team is back in the Sectional round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championships after a roller-coaster ride of a game that included late-game heroics, injuries, big saves, and penalty kicks. The Duhawks tied the #8 Washington University in St. Louis Bears 1-1 and used the penalty kick shootout to earn their spot in the Sweet 16.
Loras pushed the pace and hit the post in the game's opening 60 seconds but weren't able to convert on the rebound. More pressure came from the Loras attack over the opening 10 minutes before the flow of the game evened out and both teams settled into the second round contest. Among the chances for the home team was a direct free kick that Loras goalkeeper Dan Wickman blocked wide of the goal with a diving effort at full extension.
The Duhawks took a 9-5 shot advantage into the halftime intermission, but neither team was able to convert over the opening 45 minutes.
However, it took just 60 seconds into the second half for the Bears to score and setup the dramatic following 64 minutes of soccer.
Kenji Kobayashi scored his fifth goal of the season after a fast-paced scramble in front of the Loras College goal put him in a position to put his shot through a number of players and past Wickman.
Over the next 44 minutes, the Duhawks were credited with over a dozen shots and forced Washington goalkeeper to make 8 saves as they pushed and pushed and pushed for an opportunity to even the game.
It took 43 minutes and 22 seconds for it to come to fruition - but when it did - the Loras College Duhawks had taken themselves from the brink of elimination in their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance to 0:38 seconds away from overtime soccer and a chance to advance.
The goal came off the head of senior defender Tom Jennings with a mere 38 seconds remaining. Malcolm Calbert took a throw in deep in Washington territory and hurled it towards Jebson and the Bears' goal mouth. Multiple attempts to clear the ball out by the Bears or put it away by the Duhawks eventually put the ball on Chris Comstock's foot on the opposite side of the field from where Calbert took his throw. Comstock sent the ball back towards Calbert's side of the field and Jennings out-jumped two defenders and two teammates to head the ball past Jebson and tie the game, sending the few dozen Loras fans in attendance and the entire Loras bench and players on the field into an adrenaline-filled frenzy.
The adrenaline and constant pressure over final parts of the game continued into overtime as the Duhawks registered five more shots in the first overtime period.
Nearly every counter attack by the Bears in the final 30 minutes of regulation and into the 20 minutes of overtime resulted in a rush toward Loras' goal, only to be stalled before an open look could develop - or - Wickman challenged the attacker and made the necessary save to keep the hosts off the board. A one-versus-one breakaway save in overtime was among those stops.
The Duhawks and Bears each sent four players to the penalty spot before a "Sweet 16" participant was determined.
For the Duhawks, opening shooter Miguel Bonilla and third shooter Andy Filipiak (who suffered a bloody head injury as Loras' goal was developing at the end of regulation) converted, while Tom Strumpf and Jennings missed their attempts.
Washington's first two penalty kicks could easily be classified as disastrous after Nik Patel and Cody Costakis missed the goal completely. Then Wickman followed with a save of regulation goal scorer Kobayashi. When Patrick McLean missed the frame of the goal completely with Washington's fourth shot, the Duhawks had completed their fourth straight come-from-behind, and most improbable win and put themselves into the next round of the NCAA Division III Men' Soccer Championships.
That round will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin against the UW-Oshkosh Titans (18-0-3) on Friday, November 19. Kick off will be 5:00 PM at Titan Stadium. The other sectional finalist will come from the 7:30 PM contest between UW-Whitewater and Calvin.
The sectional championship will be played at 6:00 PM on Saturday night.
Tickets throughout the weekend in Oshkosh are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for all students. Live options for fans who cannot attend are available at the UW-Oshkosh athletics web page.