Tag Archive | "Men’s Soccer"

Men’s soccer wins Crossroads League Tournament, advances to NAIA National Championship

The Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team won the Crossroads League Tournament Championship Saturday, Nov. 9 with a 2-0 victory over Spring Arbor University. The win secures the team’s first-ever berth in the NAIA National Championship Tournament.

Although the Wildcats won by two goals, it was not an easy game. The Wildcats fought hard for goals and fended off a relentless Cougar offense the entire 90 minutes.

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Tyrone Martin (jr) dribbles away from a Spring Arbor defender. Martin scored the first IWU goal.

The Cougars and Wildcats kept the game scoreless until 10 seconds before halftime, when Geoff Bowman (sr) sent a long pass to Tyrone Martin (jr) on the left side of the field. Martin evaded one defender and snuck the ball past the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area.

“Before the goal, the game wasn’t really going our way. But that goal meant they had to be the ones chasing after halftime,” said head coach Mark Castro.

The second half wasn’t any easier. Both teams threatened each other with strong offensive attacks, but neither could find the back of the net.

That is, until nine minutes left in the game.

At that point, Sam Kane (jr) drifted a long cross from just past midfield to Taylor Lehman (so), who redirected the ball into the right corner of the goal, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.

The goal sent the crowd into pandemonium, and Lehman was visibly thrilled.

“It was hard to put into words what I felt [after the goal]. It was so exhilarating,” Lehman said.

After that, the Cougars had nothing on the Wildcats’ impenetrable defense, securing the win for IWU.

Tad Glibert (sr) was a big part of the Wildcats' shutout defense.

Tad Glibert (sr) was a big part of the Wildcats’ shutout defense.

The Wildcats defenders played solid, but goalkeeper Josh Goepper (so) acted as the backbone of the unit. With about 10 minutes left, Goepper leapt high to snatch a key Spring Arbor corner kick out of the air from several other players.

Goepper commented on the play, “I felt like I had to be stronger than everyone else, and just go up and get it.”

Goepper’s coach was also very happy with his performance.

“Josh was rock-solid back there. I think he caught every single ball cleanly,” said Castro.

The Wildcats will now start preparing for their first NAIA tournament ever. Castro said he plans to put in a bid for IWU to host a first-round matchup. If the team wins in the first round, whether the game is played at Wildcat Field or somewhere else, it will advance to the 16-team tournament in Montgomery, Ala.

“Once we have our first-round matchup, we’ll start putting together a scouting report for them,” Castro said. “We’ve made the tournament, but we hope to take the next step, too.”

Watch below for video highlights of the match:

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Men’s soccer secures spot in championship game

The Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team defeated the Bethel Pilots 4-2 on Saturday night’s Crossroads League semifinal in a cold, rainy and hard-fought competition.

Corey Lopez (so) got the packed and roaring crowd on its feet with the first goal of the game in the ninth minute of play.

Defender Tad Glibert (sr) makes a pass up the sideline.

Defender Tad Glibert (sr) makes a pass up the sideline.

The Wildcats didn’t keep the lead for long, as Bethel responded with a goal 15 minutes later. The Pilots added another in the 35th minute of play.

Castro said his team “took [its] foot off the gas after [it] scored that first goal,” which led to Bethel’s back-to-back goals.

With the Wildcats down 2-1 with 10 minutes left in the first half, Tad Glibert (sr) and Geoff Bowman (sr)  pulled through with back-to-back goals to bring the score to 3-2 before the halftime whistle blew.

But the Wildcats didn’t want to let the game end that way.

Keaton Albert (so) slammed the ball in the back of the net seven minutes into the second half, giving the Wildcats a commanding lead of 4-2 that remained the rest of the half.

Tyrone Martin (jr) recovers the ball after a foul while Tad Glibert (sr) looks to the referee.

Tyrone Martin (jr) recovers the ball after a foul as Tad Glibert (sr) looks to the referee.

At the final whistle, the Wildcats and their fans celebrated over the 4-2 victory against the Pilots.

“It’s tournament time so no game is a gimme … we knew it was going to be tough, we knew it was going to be a battle and that’s what we were ready for,” Defender Josh Schultz (sr) said.

IWU will play Spring Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 9 in the Crossroads League championship game.

Last year, the Wildcats lost to Spring Arbor in the championship game after the Cougars scored with two minutes left in the game.

“That game is still in the back of our minds so we are using it as motivation,” Castro said. “Hopefully we get the result we want.”

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Men’s soccer prepared for league tournament

A challenging preseason led to a successful regular season for the IWU men’s soccer team. Heading into the Crossroads League Tournament, the team finished undefeated in the league with a record of 6-0-3, and tied the University of Saint Francis for the league title.

Head coach Mark Castro says the team’s success is partly due to the tough opponents it took on before beginning Crossroads League play.

“Playing teams like Rio [Grande] and Bellhaven helps us play at a certain level that we get used to, so when we play league games it prepares us to play in a pressure-filled situation and compete well,”  Castro said.

The hard work paid off for the team as they are now the top seed in the conference and will have home field advantage for the tournament starting on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Castro also acknowledged the talent and versatility of his players. Geoff Bowman (sr) and Tyrone Martin (jr) have changed positions many times throughout the season.

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Tyrone Martin is a force for the Wildcats, wherever he plays on the field.

“Tyrone is a very special player, being able to have him wherever we need him … defender …. striker, he’s dangerous,” Castro said.

Castro also mentioned that in his 10 years of coaching, he has never had a player who was able to excel at almost every position on the field. Martin has played every position besides goalkeeper this season; his favorite is striker.

“Playing up top and putting the ball in the net really gets me excited,” Martin said.

According to Castro, with the success the team has had, it is likely Martin will stay a striker. Geoff Bowman has also switched positions from center midfielder to striker. Despite the change, Bowman won the title of Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row last week and the third time this season.

“We pushed both of them up as strikers so they can hold up the ball for us and connect passes and finish,” Castro said of Bowman and Martin.

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Geoff Bowman is a dangerous scorer for the Wildcats.

Bowman relates his success to the tough preseason teams they played.

“Our record is a good indication of the talent we played in the beginning of the year,” Bowman said.

Keaton Albert (so) agrees with Bowman that the difficult competition helped the team reach new heights.

“I don’t think IWU has ever played the kind of soccer that we have played here,” Keaton Albert (so) said, “The first three weeks of the season really set us up for success and has made us really hard core about everything we do on the field.”

Albert added that even though the preseason losses looked bad on the record, the team set itself up for success. As the No. 1 seed in the tournament, due to having the fewest losses, The Wildcats are now in the driver’s seat for the league championship, but they aren’t getting cocky.

“It is going to take some really hard practices before the tournament,” Albert said. “We have to approach it like we are playing the best team we have ever played.”

The Wildcats will be in action against Marian University 8 p.m. Saturday at Wildcat field in the first round of the tournament.

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Men’s soccer wins league championship with OT victory

Cory Lopez (so) headed a corner kick from Geoff Bowman (sr) into the net with 2:41 left in the first half of overtime Saturday night. The goal gave the Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats a 2-1 win over the Spring Arbor University Cougars.

Lopez raced toward the bleachers and ripped off his jersey, triumphantly screaming in front of a roaring crowd as his teammates mobbed him and fireworks proclaimed the Wildcats Crossroads League champions.

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Evan Young (fr) battles with a Cougar for a ball on the sideline.

“I didn’t really see how I headed it,” Lopez said amidst the postgame celebration. “But when I saw it in the back of the net — it felt like a dream come true.”

That dream was a long time in the making. After honoring 11 seniors in a pre-game ceremony, IWU didn’t find its rhythm in the first half and the Cougars scored a goal with three minutes left before the break.

Dylan Bronkema (jr) keeps a Spring Arbor striker at bay with solid defensive technique.

Tad Glibert (sr) led a strong second half defensive effort, but despite outshooting and outpossessing the Cougars, the Wildcats still trailed 1-0 throughout the second half. Geoff Bowman (sr) put an end to that drought by tapping in a cross from Lopez to even the score with 23 minutes to play, but the clock expired with the score still knotted. Josh Goepper (so) came up with a couple big saves in the first golden goal overtime period, setting up Lopez’s game-winning header.

The victory officially gave the Wildcats (11-3-3, 6-0-3) a share of the regular season Crossroads title, tying with Saint Francis. However, IWU’s 2-0 September victory over Saint Francis gives the Wildcats home field advantage throughout the league tournament.

“It feels really good,” Lopez said of the win. “It feels like everything we do in practice is paying off.”

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