It was a match that did not disappoint as the two rivals met for the first time this past weekend in Waverly, IA. The Wartburg Knights hosted the Duhawks for the third Iowa Conference match of the season. The Knights and the Duhawks competed for a full 90 minutes, but Loras definitely shined on both ends of the field.
“Every year we play Wartburg, we show the hype video made years ago to remind everyone, especially the first-years, how big the game is and what it means to Loras,” said senior defender Kevin Higgins. “Other than that, I don’t think it takes much for us to get excited for a game like that; there is so much history. All of the upperclassmen make sure the first-years know what to expect out there.”
The scoring for the Duhawks opened in the early minutes of the game as senior Johnny Rummelhart turned a defender, beating the Knights’ back line and finding teammate of senior Alex Bradley who sailed a volley past the Knights’ keeper to give the Duhawks the 1-0 lead. That will be Bradley’s fourth goal of the season. It forced the Duhawks’ own back line to keep the no goal patrol alive, keeping the Knights at four shots on goal for the first half.
“Knowing that we had not won at Wartburg in a few years, we knew that we would have to come out focused and intense right from the whistle,” said Higgins. “Scoring in the 16th minute was huge for us to quiet the crowd and settle the nerves a bit. In terms of our game plan, not much really changed. We still planned on coming out there with high pressure and avoiding counter-attack situations. I think overall we did a good job preventing Wartburg counters and keeping their quicker guys in check.”
The lone goal for the Duhawks would be all the scoring of the first half for both teams. With cards for both seniors Richard Lenke and Mike Gordon, the men used the halftime break to regroup and continue to take control of the match.
The second half showed more opportunities for the Duhawks to put away the game, but the Knights’ keeper, Austin Boyke, denied any shots on goal. The insurance goal came in the 67th minute when junior Jonah Jacke beat the Wartburg back line to a loose ball outside the box, sending a cross in to find the head of junior Austin Jacobi to put the ball in the back of the net, making the lead 2-0.
In the remaining minutes, despite a red card for Gordon over a risky foul, the Duhawk defense held strong and denied any opportunity for the Knights to get back in the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Peterson, was required to make six saves throughout the game. Wartburg outshot the Duhawks 16-14 for the game but Loras put 11 on frame to the Knights’ six. This was the first win the Duhawks had on Wartburg’s home grass field since 2005.
In regards to the upcoming games, Higgins said, “It will be important that we still go forward on the attack even if we are leading at times. Often times, when we sit back like that, our defense is under constant pressure which is obviously not ideal. It will be a quick turnaround with Coe on Tuesday and only one practice to prepare.”