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MSOC: The Final Four head to Greensboro

The D3 Men’s Soccer Final Four will take to field at UNC-Greensboro Stadium this weekend for a chance to bring home the National Championship hardware.

North Park will face UChicago in the first semi-final matchup, with Brandeis taking the field against Messiah for the other spot in the final set for 7:00pm Saturday, December 2nd.


North Park

North Park’s Matias Warp (North Park Athletics photo)

Conference: College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
Record: 20-1-1

Players to Watch: Matias Warp, CCIW Player of the Year; Jason Gonzalez, 1st Team All-CCIW
Warp, a senior midfielder finished in the top ten in the CCIW in just about every category. His highest rankings include third in shots (49), seventh in goals (8), and fifth in game-winning goals (2).  Gonzalez accumulated just over 1100 minutes of play this season and has utilized a huge role in North Park’s nationally-ranked defense.

How they got here . . 1-0 victory over St. Thomas (MN)

CHICAGO, IL – The fifth-ranked North Park University Vikings (19-1-1) took on the fourth-ranked University of St. Thomas Tommies (22-1) in the final match of NPU’s hosted Elite Eight match. The winner would advance to the NCAA Final Four in North Carolina in early December.

To begin the Elite Eight game, North Park wore out the opposition’s side of the field as they sent shot after shot towards the keeper Aidan Hogan.

St Thomas threatened to score twice within a minute as the Tommies nearly completed a successful header. The always strong Vikings defense was able to stifle the shot before any damage was done.

The Vikings responded just minutes later as Jason Gonzalez stole a pass on the St. Thomas side, maneuvered through two defenders, and sent a shot towards his opponent’s goal. However, quick reaction from keeper Aidan Hogan redirected the ball and kept the score tied at zero.

In the 21st minute of play, a double-barreled attack courtesy of shots from Jason Gonzalez and Matias Warp. Yet, Hogan saved both of the Vikings’ shots once again. Ten unanswered shots went towards the St. Thomas net before a hole was finally found.

The shutout broke when Jason Gonzalez found the hot foot of Shatil Khoury as he flicked a goal past the St Thomas goalie to mark the first goal of the game in the 30th minute of play. The bouncing ball was redirected on goal from the back heel of Khoury and a slight redirect off of a St. Thomas defender gave the Vikings the lead. This golden goal proved to be the difference in the match, as North Park’s lock-down defense prevented the Tommies from scoring.

North Park University (20-1-1) continues to extend their winning streak; now at twenty straight games. They advance to the Final Four for the first time in program history and are set to play in Greensboro, North Carolina starting December 1st and 2nd .

SOURCE: North Park Athletics Press Release


UChicago

UChicago’s Max Lopez (Maroon Atletics/Stephan Bates, WCS Photography photo)

Conference: University Athletic Association
Record: 19-2-1

Players to Watch: Max Lopez, 2017 UAA MVP; Nicco Capotoso, 1st-Team All-UAA
Lopez was tabbed the UAA Offensive Athlete of the Week for the final week of 2017 right after earning UAA MVP honors for the season. He tallied one goal in the NCAA Round of 16 and another in the NCAA Quarterfinal and leads the squad with 19 goals and 42 points this season. Capotosto, who anchored the defensive midfield throughout the year, claimed First Team honors for the second-consecutive season.

How they got here . .  1-1 PK Shootout Victory over Emory

CHICAGO – Twenty-two games and 2,007 minutes. For the University of Chicago men’s soccer team, the totality of its season would be not decided in regulation or overtime. It would come down to a penalty kick shootout under the bright lights of Stagg Field on Saturday night.

The Maroons delivered when it mattered most, converting all five of their kicks in the shootout to advance past Emory University and earn a spot in the NCAA Semifinals. UChicago (19-2-1 record) will make its second trip to the NCAA Final Four in program history – the squad previously achieved the feat in 1996.

Saturday’s game officially ended in a 1-1 tie with Emory after two overtimes. The penalty kick shootout occurred immediately after the overtime periods as each side chose their lineup. UChicago turned to first-year goalkeeper Aaron Katsimpalis to face the PKs. Staked to a 2-1 lead in the shootout, Katsimpalis came up huge with a diving save on Emory’s second attempt. With a 4-3 lead and the game on his foot, sophomore forward Dayo Adeosun scored the fifth and clinching penalty kick that set off a raucous celebration on the turf.

Early in the contest, the Maroons struck first for the second-straight day. Junior forward Matthew Koh sent a leading pass to the right corner that was run onto by first-year defender Scott Lich, who then skied a cross into the middle of the box. Junior forward Max Lopez leapt into the air through traffic to head the ball in for his 19th goal of the season at the 9:03 mark.

Lopez produced UChicago’s most threatening chances throughout the night. He had two other goals waved off by the referees due to a foul and an offside. His left-footed laser in the box in the 24th minute was also punched away by Emory’s goalie.

Three minutes into the second half, the Eagles erased the deficit with a header goal off a corner kick. The 1-1 score line persisted through 90 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtimes. Both sides had golden opportunities to take the lead, but it all ultimately concluded with the PK shootout. Along with the two disallowed scores, UChicago’s other closest chance came when senior midfielder Andre Abedian rattled the crossbar with a header in the 62nd minute.

The Maroons finished with a 13-5 lead in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Hill Bonin (14-2-1 record) made two saves and allowed one goal in his 110 minutes between the pipes.

UChicago’s season continues at the NCAA Final Four, hosted in Greensboro, N.C. on December 1-2.

SOURCE: UChicago Athletics Press Release


Brandeis

Brandeis’ Josh Ocel (Brandeis Athletics/Andrew Katsampes photo)

Conference: University Athletic Association
Record: 17-4

Players to watch: Josh Ocel, 1st Team All-UAA; Ben Woodhouse, 2nd Team All-UAA
Ocel, the team’s leading scorer with four goals and eight assists for 16 points, earned first-team All-UAA honors for the fourth year in a row. In goal, Woodhouse played the first 13 games of the season, including the first four UAA contests, before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the final three league games. In those four UAA games, he saved 23 of the 24 shots he faced, including a career-high 11 in a 2-0 win over Carnegie Mellon Oct. 7, and eight in a 1-0 overtime win against Emory on Oct. 15.

How they got here . . Double OT 1-0 win over Tufts

MEDFORD, Mass. –Brandeis University men’s soccer senior Patrick Flahive (Chatham, Ill./Worcester Academy) scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute remaining in the second overtime period today as the Judges defeated rival Tufts University, 1-0, in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament today. With the win, the Judges improve to 17-4 and return to the Final Four for the second year in a row. The Jumbos’ hope of back-to-back national titles comes to an end with a 15-2-4 record.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Brandeis and Tufts were evenly matched in the first half, with the Jumbos earning a 5-4 edge in shots, but the Judges putting four on frame compared to just one for the home team.
  • Brandeis senior Josh Ocel (North Attleboro, Mass./Worcester Academy) put a shot on net in the 33rd minute that was dangerous but stopped by Tufts netminder Conner Mieth.
  • In the 42nd minute, it was Brandeis senior Ben Woodhouse (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) who came off his line to deny a 3-on-3 break by the Jumbos and keep the game scoreless at the half.
    In the second stanza, the home team controlled play outshooting Brandeis 10-5, including 6-1 on net.
  • Woodhouse’s six saves included a sterling job in the 82nd minute to come off his line and deny Tufts’ Brett Rojas in a one-v-keeper situation.
  • The Judges had two late shots, but Mieth stoned Ocel in the 89th minute, and senior Josh Berg had a ball blocked on the rebound.
  • The overtime periods saw some end-to-end play, but not a ton of serious threats.
  • In the 98th minute, Tufts’ Kevin Halliday had an opportunity when he turned and shot with an open net, but sent the ball high.
  • The Judges caught a break with just about six minutes to play in the second overtime, when a Tufts player caught his second yellow of the game forcing the Jumbos to play a man down the rest of the way.
  • Brandeis was able to press the advantage a bit over the remainder of the game, paying off with just over a minute to go.
  • Senior Josh Berg (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) played a long ball from just beyond midfielder toward the box, not quite reaching the 18. Mieth and Brandeis senior Mike Lynch (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) both went after it, and though Mieth got there first, he didn’t put a great foot on the ball.
  • Brandeis senior Flahive took advantage, sending a 30-yard shot into the unattended goal, putting the Judges into the Final Four.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Tufts finished with a 17-12 edge in shots, with corner kicks even at 5-5.
  • Woodhouse finished with seven saves, including six in the second half. He recorded his 23rd career shutout and 39th career win, both second all-time.
  • Mieth made six stops, but allowed only his second goal all season.
  • The Jumbos had not conceded a goal since September 30th, and that was an own goal. They had not surrendered a goal in 12-straight games.
  • The goal was Flahive’s sixth of the season and the 15th of his career, nine of which have been game-winners. Four of his six goals this season were game-winners.

THE FINAL FOUR

  • Brandeis is in the Final Four for the second year in a row and fifth time in school history.
  • The Judges won a national title in 1976, finished second in 1984 and third in 1981. They were eliminated in the semifinals last season.
  • The previous four trips to the Final Four came under head coach Mike Coven, while this trip goes to his successor Gabe Margolis, an 11-year assistant under Coven before taking the reins in January.
  • This marks the second year in a row Brandeis eliminated the defending national champions, as they took out Amherst on penalty kicks in 2016.

UP NEXT

The Judges will take on national powerhouse Messiah College on December 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 5 p.m. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Judges and Falcons.

SOURCE: Brandeis Athletics Press Release


Messiah

Messiah’s Kirby Rollins (Messiah Athletics photo)

Conference: MAC-Commonwealth
Record: 22-2

Players to Watch: Kirby Robbins, MAC Offensive POY; Dakota Rosenberg, MAC Defensive POY
Robbins leads the Falcons in goals (12) and points (29), and his five game-winners are tied for the team lead. Rosenberg’s honors came by way of his leadership of Messiah’s nationally-ranked back line. The Falcons are ranked No. 11 in goal against average (0.459) and their eighth goals allowed is tied with Lycoming for the fewest in the conference.

How they got here . . 2-0 victory over Rochester in the round of eight

GRANTHAM, Pa. – Hello, Final Four. It’s good to be back.

No. 9 Messiah men’s soccer scored two goals in the second-half goals and kept Rochester from getting on the board in a 2-0 win on Sunday afternoon. The victory sealed the Falcons’ 22nd win and sent them back to the NCAA Division III Final Four for both the 15th time in program history and first time since 2013.

Justin Brautigam tallied the winner in the 64′ off a brilliant header, and Nick West all-but-sealed the win in the 81′ with an emphatic goal in transition. Messiah moved to 22-2 overall, while Rochester finished their season at 14-3-2.

As mentioned, the Falcons will now enter the Final Four for the first time since 2013, the same year they won their last of Division III-record 10 National Championships.

Old Foe, New Challenge
Messiah and Rochester matched up for the fourth time in NCAA Tournament history, and the first time since the Falcons took a 2-1 win over the Yellowjackets in the 2009 Sectional Final. Yesterday both teams battled through steady—and sometimes torrential—rainfall to get to today’s Sectional Final. At game time today the rains were gone, but heavy side-to-side winds were in their place.

The wind certainly kept the teams off-balance, especially at the start. Nevertheless, Messiah found a great look in the box in just the 12′ when Danny Brandt led Nick West into the box on the left side. West turned the corner and pressed toward the post before sending a quick pass across the frame to Colby Thomas. He stepped on the ball and tried to shoot, but had to make another touch by a defender before seeing his shot blocked.

That early attempt by Messiah was matched by Rochester in the 19′ when the Falcons’ defense turned it over on the left side. Josh Cooley quickly attacked into the box and fired low across the box, but Connor Bell made a diving save to tip it wide of the far post. That was Bell’s first of four saves in the game, and it was probably his best.

From midway through the first-half until the end of the game Messiah controlled pace and territory, with the Yellowjackets collecting only two shots before the Falcons managed to get on the board.

Moment(s) of Brilliance
The Falcons finally found the game-changing moment in the 64′, and it was nothing short of brilliant. Nick West carried possession down the left side and beat his mark on the end line for a sharp serve to the far side of the goal box. Justin Brautigam was there waiting, and he sent a header with perfect precision inside the right post for what proved to be the game-winner.

The goal was just the second on the season for Brautigam, and also his first since the Falcons’ second game back on Sept. 2. Nevertheless, the score was huge considering the Yellowjackets allowed just six shots on goal to the Falcons throughout.

To that point, Messiah’s next shot on goal was their last and, much to the enjoyment of the home fans, it also went through. The play came in the 81′ when Colby Thomas weaved through three defenders on the right side and got into the box to draw keeper Redd Brown of his line. Thomas quickly slotted across the box to the weakside, and Nick West hit a hard one-timer past a scrambling Brown to make it 2-0.

West’s goal was his 14th on the season, tying Kirby Robbins for the team lead. It also marked the third time this season he’s collected a goal and a helper in the same match.

Up Next
The Falcons will now be off for almost two weeks, and they’ll prepare to face Brandeis University in the Final Four on Friday, Dec. 1 at 5:00 p.m. The Judges are in the Final Four for the second-straight year and fifth time in program history. They are 17-4 on the season and have won each of their last three NCAA Tournament games by 1-0 scores, including today in double-overtime over Tufts.

SOURCE: Messiah Athletics Press Release

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