Men’s soccer claims IIAC Championship after undefeated conference season
With the Iowa Conference Tournament title on the line, the men headed up Loras Blvd. to face their crosstown rivals, the University of Dubuque Spartans, for the last regular season game of the year. The Duhawks entered this game 11-4-1 and 6-0 in IIAC play while the Spartans were 11-4-1 and 4-2 in IIAC play. With a wet pitch, the match was quick and slick, keeping both teams on their toes.
“To stay composed we made sure we had good hard practices leading up to it,” said sophomore forward Spencer Moore. “We knew it was going to rain the day of the game, so we came into the game knowing the ball would skip and that both goalkeepers would have trouble with shots.”
The Spartans opened up scoring in the 28th minute after a volley from a shot was knocked in past Duhawk keeper Jacob Peterson. It didn’t take long for the Duhawks to bounce back though as senior forward Johnny Rummelhart chested a cross into the box to the foot of Moore who sent the ball side netting past the Dubuque goalkeeper. With the momentum on their side, the Duhawks utilized their regular swarm type of play to cause some havoc to the Dubuque defense. After a poor clearance from the Spartan backline, senior forward Mike Gordon put another goal on the board, giving the Duhawks the 2-1 lead in the 40th minute. In the second half, the Duhawk back line shut down any chance the Spartans had to get themselves back in the game.
“It is very important that everyone steps up. I feel that when everyone steps up on our team as a whole, we perform a lot better,” said Moore. “Our back line this year is playing very well, and I feel that their performance boosts everyone to play better.”
The Duhawks finished their regular season play by earning their fourth consecutive Iowa Conference Championship going undefeated in conference with an overall record of 12-4-1. With a first round bye, the Duhawks will face the #4 seed Simpson College on the Rock Bowl Wednesday night (log onto Duhawks.com for the late result).
“Now that the regular season is over, we all have to realize that all the teams going into the NCAA tournament are all 0-0,” said Moore. “The regular season is behind us and we have to focus on the upcoming games and know that it’s win or go home. We have a lot of seniors on our team this year, so I think they help motivate us during practice and also help us keep our focus during the games. Simpson will be a different team this time around because they will be motivated to beat us.”