September 26, 2016

Game of the Year: Men’s soccer slays 11th ranked Knights

When soccer recruits visit Webster University, Men’s Soccer Head Coach Michael Siener brings them to the monitor in the University Center. It displays year-round highlights of Gorlok sports. Often, it shows senior forward Mike Wells heading in the game-winning, double-overtime goal against 11th-ranked Wartburg College at the beginning of last season. Moments after the goal, Wells’s teammates mobbed him in the corner in celebration in what was one of the greatest non-conference victories in Webster men’s soccer history.

MikeWells_profile“That moment, everyone forgets about playing time and who’s playing where and how much they are playing. Everybody is excited for each other,” Siener said.

On a Saturday evening in September 2014 at Soccer Park, the Gorloks entered the match 1-1 on the season. In the 34th minute, Knights senior midfielder Tyler Salzwedel was handed a red card, disqualifying him and giving the Gorloks a man advantage for the remaining part of the match. Salzwedel’s red was one of six cards issued within a 19-minute span. The Gorloks outshot Wartburg 5-4 in the first half but trailed 1-0 at halftime. Siener said during the practice sessions leading up to the match, that the Gorloks needed to keep it a one-goal game to give themselves a chance.

At the 70-minute mark, Webster scored  the first of a pair of goals from forwards Alex Whalen and Dzani Delic and took a 2-1 lead. Minutes later, Wartburg tied the match 2-2 to send the game to overtime. Siener admitted the match was one of the most nerve-wracking matches he has been a part of as a player or a coach.

“Any time you get into the game like that, you feel the nerves a little bit,” Siener said.

Wartburg would eventually rebound from the loss and advance to the NCAA Division-III quarterfinal. The two schools are scheduled to have a rematch at Wartburg in 2015. When recruits see the video, Siener said the win gives them something to reflect on when they decide on a college.

“When they see us running over to the sideline, I hope they get excited,” Siener said.

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