Warriors Oust Top-Seeded Stars, Move On To NACC Tournament Final

Warriors Oust Top-Seeded Stars, Move On To NACC Tournament Final

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (WLCSports.com) – The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's soccer team continued its road run through the 2016 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament after the sixth-seeded Warriors defeated top-seeded Dominican 5-4 on a penalty-kick shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday afternoon at West Campus Field.

THE BASICS

  • Final Score: Wisconsin Lutheran 2, Dominican 2 (WLC advances 5-4 on shootout)
  • Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (9-7-5), Dominican (12-2-4)
  • Location: West Campus Field, River Forest, Ill.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • WLC took an early 1-0 advantage after Graham Ver Velde (Oostburg, Wis./Sheboygan County Christian) chipped the ball over the DU keeper's head for his first collegiate goal in the 9th minute. 
  • Despite being pressured with 14 shots, the Warriors defense stood strong and WLC carried its 1-0 lead into halftime.
  • Dominican's pressure broke through in the 49th minute when Jonathan Arzeta found the back of the net from a corner kick off assists from Isaac Perez and Cesar Franco.
  • The Stars took the lead in the 62nd minute after Frankie Saiz found the back post off an endline pass from Perez.
  • Nick Zupinski (Kenosha, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) headed in the equalizer in the 83rd minute off of a chipped pass from Juan Serna (Milwaukee, Wis./St. Anthony).
  • The contest remained tied at 2-2 through the end of regulation. 
  • Both teams had scoring opportunities in the 20:00 of two overtime periods, but stellar goalkeeping kept the score knotted at two apiece and sent the game to a penalty-kick shootout.
  • Trey Hendricks (Fort Atkinson, Wis./Fort Atkinson) scored first in the Warriors' first round of penalty kicks, but DU answered right back to tie it up. 
  • After both teams were unsuccessful in their second attempts, Isaiah Gronholz (Watertown, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran), goalkeeper Erek Lehnen (Fort Myers, Fla./Southwest Florida Christian), Connor Schodorf (Appleton, Wis./St. Mary Central), and Zupinski all connected for the Warriors.
  • In the Stars' final attempt, Saiz's shot sailed high, hit the crossbar and bounced out to send Wisconsin Lutheran to its first NACC Tournament Final appearance.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • The Stars dominated the shot count 39-14 and 15-5 in shots on goal, but DU narrowly out-shot WLC 6-4 over both overtime frames.
  • Erek Lehnen (Fort Myers, Fla./Southwest Florida Christian) made 13 crucial saves in net for WLC to preserve the tie.  
  • Zupinski and Enrique Arreola (Anna, Ill./Anna-Jonesboro) led the team with three shots each.
  • Perez led DU with 11 shots and two assists. Gabriel Gongora made three saves in goal in 110 minutes.
  • The Warriors are the second No. 6 seed to reach the NACC Tournament Final in conference history.
  • Until today, the Stars have appeared in every conference tournament title game since the conference formed in 2006.
  • WLC tied Dominican for the second straight year and avenged an earlier-season 7-0 loss to now the fifth-ranked team in the Central Region.

POSTGAME COMMENTS

UP NEXT

  • The Warriors will travel to Lisle, Ill., to face second-seeded Benedictine (13-4-2) on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. for the NACC Tournament Final. The winner receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Eagles defeated fifth-seeded Aurora, 2-0, in Wednesday's other semifinal. In their regular season matchup on October 8 in Milwaukee, BenU edged WLC, 2-1. Links to live stats and video will be available for Saturday's championship match at WLCSports.com.