LORAS COLLEGE – Earning a three seed in the eyes of the NCAA Division III selection committee, the Loras Duhawks men’s soccer team hosted first and second round action in the lovely comforts of the Rock Bowl. The Duhawks continued a solid record in the Rock Bowl as they took care of Westminster and Gustavus Adolphus, both by 2-0 scores, the former in the first round and the latter in the second. Mike Pizzello continued to light up the stat sheet as he scored twice, once in each game to power the Duhawks to the ‘Sweet 16’ this weekend, Nov 21st and 22nd.
The Duhawks will travel to Wheaton, Illinois and face a familiar foe in the Trinity Tigers Friday night. The Tigers and Duhawks met last year in the ‘Elite 8’ in Dubuque. The Duhawks dispatched of the Tigers by a 2-0 score and headed to their 2nd straight Final Four. This year, the Duhawks will have to keep the Tigers at bay. A Tiger team that enters this match 23-1 despite facing NCAA sanctions which is most likely the reason for the number two seed instead of a deserving number 1 seed.
In the other regional semifinal, the Wheaton Thunder will host the Wartburg Knights out of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Wartburg won the Iowa Conference advancing on penalty kicks, 5-4, after playing to a 2-2 tie with the Duhawks in the Rock Bowl on Nov. 8th.
The winner of this region will move onto the Final Four in Kansas City, Missouri December 5th and 6th. Undoubtedly a tough region, if the Duhawks are to advance to the Final Four, they will have had to play some of the toughest competition they have ever faced on what would be their 5th trip, 3rd straight, to the Final Four and if things hold up, would have the highly regarded Messiah Falcons, who enter the ‘Sweet 16’ as back to back National Champions and have won 10 titles since 2000.
Joel is a senior at Loras College and a Dubuque native. Joel is the Producer for SportsZONE, as well as anchor, reporter and commentator for Live Sports. Joel has spent past summers as a sports intern for KCCI-TV in Des Moines and has also interned for the Iowa Cubs video team. Joel has a strong passion for sports and loves to be involved in the community.