Men’s soccer team clinches IIAC Tournament berth
DUBUQUE — The Duhawks hit the road last Saturday for their first conference game outside of the Rock Bowl this season, taking on the Simpson College Storm.
In the first half, the Duhawks could not find the back of the net, despite many opportunities. With the game scoreless, junior captain Sam Koenig stepped up to take a free kick from midfield. He directed a shot toward the frame and the ball clanged off the crossbar to keep the sides locked at zeros. Simpson goalie Zach McEntee was challenged three more times in the final 15 minutes, but turned away all Duhawk scoring opportunities in the first half.
Even though the Duhawks didn’t capitalize in the first half, Coach Dan Rothert remained optimistic.
“We were able to control the pace and keep possession in their half for a majority of the game,” Rothert said. “We had many of our chances in the air, and that’s how we capitalized.”
The Duhawks finally capitalized on a chance in the 52nd minute. Senior Tom Fleugel sent in a free kick to fellow senior Mike Pizzello who headed it home to take the 1-0 lead. This was the captain’s ninth goal on the season and his third in the last two games.
“Mike’s goal was huge because it really stifled any momentum Simpson had from being scoreless at half,” added Coach Rothert.
Simpson attempted to even the score for the rest of the half, but couldn’t find the back of the net. With a combination of tenacious defense and solid goaltending by sophomore Adam Roloff, the Duhawks were able to hang on for the 1-0 victory. This was the second consecutive shutout for Roloff, moving him to 5-0-0 on the season.
The Duhawks remain undefeated in the Iowa Conference at 4-0-0 and are now 11-1-1 overall. With their latest win, the Duhawks have clinched a berth in the Iowa Conference Tournament set to begin on Nov. 1. As of right now, Loras is tied for the No. 1-seed with Wartburg (10-2-2, 4-0). The two teams will face off for conference supremacy on Oct. 25 in the Rock Bowl.
The Duhawks got an extra break when Monday’s game against Division I program Western Illinois was canceled due to rain.
Weather permitting, their next game will take place Saturday in Decorah against No. 14 Luther College.