Wed, Oct. 24, 2012 - [Men's Soccer]
By Jim Naprstek, Asst. Sports Information Director
A warm night in the Rock Bowl would be the setting for Tuesday night's match up between the 4th ranked Loras College Duhawks and the University of Dubuque Spartans. With UD's loss to Coe last week, the best outcome they could hope for would be to earn a share of the 2012 Iowa Conference regular season title by knocking off the Duhawks. With conference leading goal scorer Nick McDonald, the Spartans planned to utilize his speed and offensive prowess to carry them to victory. Erik Berkowitz was ready to spoil their plans.
From the opening whistle, McDonald tried to beat Berkowitz off the edge, but the gritty defender wouldn't abandon his mark. He was so effective with his defense, that McDonald did not register a shot on target all night long. The stifling defense of the Duhawks would prove to be effective once more, as they would finish the Iowa Conference regular season without surrendering a single goal.
After a scoreless first half, Loras Head Coach Dan Rothert spoke to his team at the halftime break, instructing them to continue to play high pressure and eventually they will wear down the UD front. Sophomore Tom Fluegel found himself in prime scoring position in the 55th minute and did not miss, sending home the shot from inside the 6.
Senior Forrest Olson and freshman Ben Avery just missed connecting on a low crossing attempt in the first half, but when given the opportunity again, Olson was sure not to miss it. Olson and senior Ryan Schneider, both graduates of Marist High School, would connect in the 76th minute to squelch the Spartans efforts to rob the Duhawks of the Iowa Conference title.
Loras completes their regular season in stunning fashion. In Iowa Conference play, the Duhawks did not to surrender a goal, thus owning a +27 goal differential. The Duhawks are the second team to complete this feat, following the 2011 regular season champion Luther.
The Duhawks will be off until October 31, when they will battle it out against the winner of the Luther and Central being played this Saturday.