Knights claim IIAC Tournament title in Rock Bowl
Sat, Nov. 7, 2009 - [Men's Soccer]
The Loras College Duhawks men's soccer team advanced to the IIAC Championship game after a Friday night victory of Simpson College, but couldn't complete their run to the third IIAC Tournament title in team history.

Loras scored the championship game's opening goal when Nate Minkel kept a ball in bounds on the end line towards the front of the goal. Miguel Bonilla scored his 17th goal of the season to give the Duhawks the lead in the 50th minute.

The teams were nearly even in total shots taken (19-18 in favor of Loras), but the Knights challenged the Duhawks goal with more shots on frame. Loras needed to make 10 saves, including one by defender Matt Splittgerber in the first half, to keep the game where it was at 1-1. The Duhawks did have some good chances, including a good look by Malcolm Calbert in double overtime, just moments before Wartburg found a game-winner. The Knights forced overtime with a header goal by outside defender Kyle McKenna in the 79th minute.

It took until the 108th minute for the game to be decided. In the seventh straight IIAC Tournament Championship game meeting between the two teams, senior Luke Prater hit a shot from 15 yards out to give the Knights their fifth win in the series.

Santiago Mejia led Loras with seven total shots. Miguel Bonilla had four. Adam Kelsch made nine saves for the Duhawks. The loss was Loras' first at home this season and dropped them to 18-2-1 on the season.

Loras, who entered the game as the #3 team in the country, now waits for the NCAA Division III Soccer committee to select the participants for this year's tournament. The Knights will be in with the league's automatic bid, and the Duhawks will almost certainly be in with one of 17 at large bids in the 59 team field.

Loras will learn their destination on Monday morning. The NCAA will release the field late in the morning at ncaa.com.