Duhawks hope to carry their momentum from victory over Central into Wartburg showdown
It was a great start to conference play when the Loras men’s soccer team triumphed over the Simpson Storm 3-0. The Duhawks then faced the UW-Whitewater Warhawks in what the team refers to as the “Hawk Cup.”
Falling behind in the 12th minute, it was senior forward Mike Gordon who got the Duhawks the equalizing goal to put the men back in the game in the 68th minute. In the 87th minute the Warhawks took advantage of getting past the Duhawks back line, sending a ball to the far post past goalkeeper Jacob Peterson, taking the game with a score of 2-1. The Warhawks took the Hawk Cup back to Wisconsin, but the Duhawks are ready for a rematch.
“When you play for a program like Loras there is no loss that is easy as our goal every game is to go 1 and 0,” said junior captain Alex Bradley. “Having Whitewater in our region and potentially competing for hosting rights does make that loss a little harder to accept. However we knew we had to get that game out of our head and focus on Central who gave us a good game last year.”
Coming off of the tough loss, the Duhawks later traveled to Pella, Iowa for the second conference matchup of the season against Central.
The men put on an impressive show as Bradley put away the first goal of the game in 90 seconds off an assist from junior Jonah Jacke. Due to the early lead and the depth of the bench, Loras was able to make many substitutions, putting in fresh legs to continuously pressure the Dutch. In the 27th minute, junior Austin Jacobi sent home his third goal of the year and the second of the match. Ten minutes later, sophomore Ike Bruns scored his first goal as a collegiate athlete, pushing the lead to 3-0. With minutes remaining in the match, Gordon put his fourth goal of the season away to secure the Duhawks’ 4-0 victory.
In addition to those who scored, Tyler Cruikshank, Jorge Simon, Jojo Schmidt, Kyler Olson and Erik Ziolkowski assisted in those goals. The Duhawks out-shot the Dutch 23-3.
“The main goal in conference play is really trying to ensure that we shut teams out in order to get maximum points,” said Bradley. “Other than that we go into every game hoping to take an early lead and leave the field with the W after 90 minutes like any other.”
The Duhawks will travel to Waverly, Iowa on Saturday after a week off for another conference matchup against Wartburg. The Duhawks have not handed the Knights a loss at home since the 2009 season.
“We will go into the Wartburg game like we do any other with the goal of going 1 and 0, however when it comes to Wartburg there is always a bit more of a buzz around the locker room in the days leading up to the game especially after losing the Conference Tournament final on PKs last year,” Bradley said. “Having a week of practice with no games will be good for us. It gives us time to work on some things and get some guys healthy. It’s a tough place to go and because of the rivalry we have we can expect a good crowd of Wartburg fans who will only add to the atmosphere and the occasion.”