The men’s soccer team made a statement this past week as they took down No. 2 Wheaton Thunder. The Duhawks were ranked No. 11 according to the NCAA preseason rankings. The last meeting between the Duhawks and the Thunder was in the 2013 season in Wheaton, IL where the Duhawks took down the Thunder, 2-0, on their home turf.
The Duhawks opened the scoring early when senior forward Johnny Rummelhart found the foot of junior forward Alex Bradley, who sailed a shot to the far post past Wheaton goalkeeper Matt Paprocki, giving Loras the lead in the 12th minute. The Duhawks used that momentum and their swarm mentality to keep the pressure on the Thunder, outshooting them 10-4 in the first half.
With the Thunder struggling to find an equalizer in the second half, Loras was able to put the game out of reach. Rummelhart won a back pass from a Thunder midfielder inside the box and rocked a shot past Paprocki into the back of the net. All of the Thunder’s last-minute efforts to put themselves back in the game were denied by the Duhawks’ back line. The Duhawks walked away with a 2-0 win, giving the Thunder their second loss of the season and knocking them from their No.2 ranking.
“Wheaton is always a game we look forward to at the beginning of the season,” Rummelhart said. “They’re a quality team who resembles what the postseason will bring, and they will always bring their best soccer to the table. Them being ranked 2nd in the nation makes it that much sweeter.”
With a quick turnaround from the win against Wheaton, the Duhawks faced St John’s, out of Minnesota, in the Rock Bowl Saturday night. The men came out a bit slow, struggling to take control of the game and implement their usual style of play. The first half was goalless, and featured minimal shots from both teams.
The second half required a bit of adjustment for the Duhawks, looking to rebound from the slow start. Of eight shots from the Duhawks, none were able the find the back of the net, continuing the frustration of the Duhawks’ attacking line. As the no-goal-patrol of the Loras back line continued to strive, the Johnnies too remained scoreless, bringing the match into extra time. After an additional 20 minutes of play, the game ended in a draw, bringing the Duhawks to 3-0-1.
“Our mentality is simple” said Rummelhart. “Go 1-0, treat every game like it’s the national championship. Trust the system and each other, and enjoy the journey. This is the best time of the year, and we believe we can make a great run this season. It’s fun and exciting to be ranked nationally, and to beat nationally-ranked teams, but the only one that matters is in December.”
The men are next headed to the No. 18 University of Chicago (5-0). Log on to Duhawks.com for results, stats and analysis.