The #2 Loras College men's soccer team matched the program's deepest run in the NCAA Division III Championship with their return to the semifinal round on Friday. After a scoreless opening 90 minutes of action, the game was decided in the 99th minute by Messiah's Mike Kovach.
If you enjoy watching soccer, you were treated to a true display of Division III championship level action on Friday morning in San Antonio, Texas. The Duhawks and Falcons traded punches for seemingly each of the 99 minutes.
The difference was a five yard shot from Mike Kovach after a scramble in front of Dylan Milkent and the Loras College goal. Jeremy Payne entered the box on Milkent's left and turned the corner towards that post, forcing a touch from Milkent which lingered in the box as players from both teams hustled for the next touch. When the dust settled, Kovach was in the right place to put home the game-winner.
In the game's early moments, the Duhawks established a strong presence on the attacking half with their direct and high pressure style. Brad Joiner was a stride away from a tap in goal and Sean Lewis forced a diving save from Brandon West in the opening 15 minutes.
The Duhawks held a 7-6 shot advantage in the opening half and continued their pressure into the second half and overtime with seven more shots, including four on goal.
The Falcons pushed back regularly with possession and shots of their, 23 total and six on goal. The final two on goal for Messiah were in the final seconds of the first overtime as Payne and Kovach combined for the game-winner.
"I couldn't be more proud of my kids," head coach Dan Rothert said after the game. "We came right at them (Messiah), tried to disrupt their game…quick counter attacks…battle for everything. The ball didn't bounce our way, it bounced their way."
The Duhawks matched their most wins in a season in 2012 with 23 and went an unprecedented 17-0 at home in the Rock Bowl.