Men’s team again loses, 2-1, in ‘Hawk Cup’

Men’s team again loses, 2-1, in ‘Hawk Cup’
photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics

The men’s soccer team looked to build off their first conference victory and get some revenge against the UW-Whitewater Warhawks on Sept. 28. After a 2-1 loss in the Rock Bowl last season, this year’s “Hawk Cup” was held in Whitewater, and the Duhawks wanted to continue the trend of the road team stealing a victory.

It did not start out well for the Duhawks as the Warhawks took the early lead on a free kick in the third minute. Despite playing from behind, Loras outshot the Warhawks 12-2 for the rest of the half. Whitewater’s keeper Chris Lucatorto came up huge multiple times, preventing the Duhawks from getting the equalizer and making seven saves. Loras had their best chance of the half in the sixth minute, as junior Spencer Moore found senior Kyler Olsen in the box, but his attempt was stopped by Lucatorto. The teams went to half with the Warhawks ahead 1-0.

In the second half, the Duhawks once again had a number of opportunities to even the match.  Senior Alex Bradley found his fellow senior and captain Calvin Miller, but his header went wide of the net. In the 72nd minute, the Warhawks added an insurance tally when Hozai Ceballos beat Duhawk keeper Jacob Peterson on a one-on-one. It wasn’t quite over yet as Bradley got Loras on the board off an assist by senior Austin Jacobi, but it was too late as the Warhawks survived with the 2-1 win.

For the first time since Sept. 4, the Duhawks returned to the Rock Bowl for a Homecoming matchup against the St. John’s Johnnies. Not only did the Duhawks get the boost of playing in front of their home fans, but they also had some fresh new threads that debuted on Saturday night. The all-black kits provided the Duhawks with the confidence boost that they needed.

“Knowing how good we looked gave us a huge lift,”  said first-year Liam O’Connell.

Unfortunately, the Johnnies were the one who got the early momentum as they struck in the 31st minute when Dylan Lehrer beat Peterson off a throw-in. Loras did not let this get them down as they struck an equalizer right before halftime. Junior Eddie Gonzalez’s cross found first-year Alex Herrera and sent his shot to the inside post, tying it up at 1-1 as the first half came to a close.

Only two minutes into the second half, the Duhawks jumped in front as Olsen flipped a shot over the goalkeeper’s head, then ran over to the stands to celebrate with his adoring fans. The lead quickly evaporated as the Johnnies scored two goals to re-take the advantage, 3-2. However, Loras would not go quietly as they used Calvin Miller’s throw-in to sophomore Ryan Ross to score once again and tie it up at 3-3. Five minutes later, the Duhawks turned a defensive stop into an attack. Junior Ike Bruns sent a ball to Bradley, who then passed it off to Moore out wide. As Moore sauced a pass across the middle of the pitch he found O’Connell, who blasted a beautiful shot for the win.

“Spencer knows how I like it, so he sent me a perfect pass,” said O’Connell. “I’d say this goal justifies when I scored my first goal in the Rock Bowl, but it hit the tire in the net and they waived it off. Now, to be able to score the winning goal on Homecoming is surreal.”

The victory on Saturday puts the Duhawks at 5-3-0 on the campaign and leads them into four straight Iowa Conference match-ups, which began on Wednesday against the rival University of Dubuque Spartans. Despite having never beaten the Duhawks, the Spartans came in with a chip on their shoulder as they entered at 9-1-0 and 2-0 in Iowa Conference play.

Next, the Duhawks will return home on Saturday to face off against Central College.

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