Men’s Soccer Earns Iowa Conference Title, Competes in National Semifinals

1/7/2014
 
Following another Iowa Conference title and their fourth straight IIAC Tournament title, the Loras College men’s soccer team made their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Final Four this season. After earning an opening round bye, the team used penalty kicks to get past Luther College in the second round and followed with Sectional Round wins over Westminster and Trinity. All three games were in the Rock Bowl.

Loras returned to San Antonio, Texas for the national semifinals for the second consecutive season. As was the case a year ago, the team took part in the formal banquet, performed service work, and practiced leading up to the clash with Rutgers-Camden.

When game time rolled around on December 6, it was time for the Duhawks to tackle the task at hand.

The Scarlet Raptors were on the board first in the 13th minute after their fourth shot of the early going was tucked home by leading scorer Mike Ryan. The Duhawks pushed back with five shots over the final 15 minutes of the opening half, but went to the locker room trailing after six Dylan Milkent saves in the first 45 minutes and two for Mike Randall.

The second half was where the Duhawks proved to be a handful for their opponents. Loras took 13 shots and forced Randall into five saves over the second 45 minutes. They finally broke through when sophomore Richard Lenke smashed home the tying goal in the 80th minute from 15 yards out. It was the Duhawks' first goal in four trips to the national semifinals. Just five minutes later, Johnny Rummelhart sent a pass to the Scarlet Raptors' doorstep where Tim van den Bergh headed it past Randall to give Loras their first lead.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as Rutgers-Camden pushed back with a final shot on goal of regulation following a corner kick. The shot at the far post slipped underneath Dylan Milkent and a Duhawk defender to extend the game with just 2:30 to play in the second half.

Just a minute into the first overtime, the Scarlet Raptors earned a seemingly harmless free kick near midfield. With the benefit of a steady wind towards the Loras goal and a scrum of confusion as the ball came down inside the Loras six-yard box, the Duhawks found themselves abruptly in the loss column.

The loss ended Loras' season at 19-2-3. The Duhawks made their fourth appearance in the national semifinals in seven seasons under head coach Dan Rothert. Rothert also won his 500th game as men’s and women’s head coach when the men’s team defeated Wartburg, 1-0 in overtime, in the IIAC Tournament Championship in the Rock Bowl.

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