The Loras College men’s soccer team has earned their ticket to play in the NCAA Division III Championship after their performances this past week, claiming victory over Simpson on Nov. 1 3-0 and Luther on Saturday, Nov. 4 in a 3-1 shootout.
The team carried an extensive amount of momentum through the IIAC Tournament, resulting in a total of 10 consecutive wins.
“This is where we expect to be every year, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that,” said head men’s soccer coach Dan Rothert. “We expect to be playing in big games; this is why guys come to Loras to play soccer.”
The Duhawks plowed through their semifinal opponent Simpson College, winning 3-0. First-year midfielder Manny Lopez applied pressure against the Storm early in the match, forcing a scramble and miscommunication in the box. The confusion resulted in the Duhawks first goal of the match.
Sophomore midfielder Mark Broderick aided the team in getting insurance by scoping a corner of the net from the 20 yard-line in the 20th minute. Broderick was unassisted in this goal. The two teams went back and forth through halftime for about 40 minutes.
Then in the 78th minute, sophomore midfielder Mark Histed was able to penetrate the goal with a diving header. Histed was assisted by first-year midfielder Danny Chavarria to raise the bar that much farther for a Simpson comeback.
“We just said we got to give ourselves a chance and put it in the mix. It’s a wet slippery day; the first goal was kind of that way,” said Rothert.
After the victory at home, the team hit the road once again to Luther College in Decorah, IA. The Norse was the No. 1 seed in the conference, challenging the Duhawks in triple overtime with a tied score of 2-2.
In the 13th minute, senior forward Spencer Moore was able to find the lower left corner of the goal. Moore was assisted by sophomore forward Liam O’Connell. However, the Norse fought back forcing a goal just a few minutes later in the 19th minute.
Luther’s Ben Keller was able to get a shot through on an assist by Luke VonEschen. The two teams battled back and forth for about 40 minutes until sophomore midfielder Miles McDonnell gave the Duhawks an edge.
McDonnell found the net on a cross shot to the top left corner of the goal in the 65th minute. McDonnell was assisted by first-year midfielder Edin Galvez. The Norse trailed for roughly five minutes until Keller was able to find the net again, his second goal of the game.
Keller managed to score from a header, assisted by Brunno Colon tying the game at 2-2. Neither team was able to score for the next 20 minutes sending the game into overtime. The dry streak continued for another 20 minutes resulting in a penalty kick shoot-out.
Senior midfielders Javi Simon and Chris Alfaro, and defender Ike Bruns were all able to convert while Luther’s first and third attempts were stopped by senior goalkeeper Jacob Peterson. Luther’s fourth attempt sailed high, resulting in the Duhawks earning their automatic bid to the Championship.
“It is a mental battle. There is a switch in my head I turn on for the kick, and I switch it off after it’s over,” said Peterson.
The final shootout results were 3-1 in Loras’ favor. The Duhawks won their 10th Iowa Conference Tournament Championship and advanced to their 12th NCAA Tournament.
“Being able to take it all in and seeing the fans who came to support us, it was a great moment,” said Peterson.
The next game for the Duhawks is Saturday. The opponent and location is to be determined. Keep an eye on Duhawks.com for more information.
Jon is currently a junior who is double-majoring in Media Studies and Public Relations. He is heavily involved at Loras as a campus photographer, residential adviser, and a sports editor for the school newspaper, The Lorian.