After two 1-nil victories in the opening rounds of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championships, the Duhawks prepped for a rematch with fellow tri-staters UW-Platteville Pioneers. For Platteville, it was the furthest run any soccer team in their program's history had made it in the NCAA Tournament, and for the Duhawks, this was another stepping stone to the end goal.
Junior Kevin Cavers, who was recently named Iowa Conference Most Valuable Player, stepped forward and ripped a shot in the 9th minute after a half clearnance followinga Duhawk throw to put hosts ahead early. Unlike most of Loras' opponents in 2012, the Pioneers came right back at them, resulting in a very fast paced and physical match.
In the 34th minute, Platteville struck gold after a free kick from Chris Brown. Junior Dylan Milkent had his signals crossed up with his back line resulting in the low angled shot making its way past him and into the side of the net. The half would end deadlocked at 1-1, with Loras holding a slim 6-5 advantage in total shots.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Cavers found himself with space after turning his defender. Similar to his first half goal, Cavers rifled a bouncing ball that found its way into the net, putting Loras up 2-1.
Not two minutes later, junior Erik Berkowitz was forced to slide inside the penalty area to prevent a shot attempt, resulting in the referee awarding Platteville a penalty kick. With the crowd roaring, Brandon Chmiel, who was responsible for Loras' lone loss, stepped to the mark and sent his shot low and to the right. Milkent would make up for the allowed goal in the first half, sending Chmiel's penalty kick out of danger.
Despite courageous attempts, the Pioneers were unable to find the equalizer. With the victory, the Duhawks move on to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament where they will face Wheaton College who defeated Dominican University 1-0.
In the first match of the night, the Wheaton College Thunder took on the Dominican University Stars. The two teams met in the regular season, with Dominican defeating the Thunder 2-0.
Wheaton was successful in applying pressure throughout most of the match. The lone goal of the match came in the 50th minute, when Marshall Hollingsworth put home the pass he received from Adam Blackman. The goal would stand up over the next 40 minutes, as Dominican would be unable to score despite a handful of attempts in front of Ryan Seager and the Thunder's goal.
Wheaton returns to the Elite Eight for the first time since their runner-up performance in 2006.