Webster University looks to repeat as conference champions for the fourth year in a row.
Revenge escapes Gorloks, team rebounds with win over Rhodes
Senior defender Mickey Dennis wanted revenge.
Three years ago, Dennis — along with four other current players of the Webster University men’s soccer team — had reached the NCAA Tournament and was matched against Loras College (Iowa) in Round 1. It was one and done for Webster in 2009 as they fell to the Duhawks on their home field, 3-1.
Three years later, the Gorloks had a chance to avenge the defeat and do it on their home turf at St. Louis Soccer Park. Dennis was in the starting lineup on Saturday, Sept. 8, along with midfielder David Doggendorf, defender Josh Sellmeyer and midfielder Adam Ullo. Those seniors and forward Jurgen Rama battled on a clear, sunny afternoon, but the same results yielded. Webster lost once again to Loras, the No. 3 Division III team in the country, this time 4-1.
Dennis said after the game he was frustrated with the final result.
“They are ranked No. 3 in the country, but we played with them for most of the game,” Dennis said. “I think we could have played them to at least a draw.”
The Duhawks went up 2-0 in the first half with goals in the 17th and 28th minutes. Then, Webster sophomore midfielder Mike Wells cut the deficit with his second goal of the season in the 34th minute.
As the first half was drawing to a close, Loras poked in another goal in the 44th minute. The Gorloks, cleats banging on the metal bleachers, trudged back to the locker room trailing 3-1.
Loras continued its attack and scored its fourth goal just three minutes into the second half.
“Those were really unfortunate goals,” Doggendorf said. “They took some bad hops in the goal area there. It could have went either way. It could have bounced out, it could have bounced in, and unfortunately it bounced in. You got to take those goals. You’re going to get some of them for you and against you. You got to take them as they come.”
Webster held off any more goals from the Duhawks but couldn’t find the net again.
Dennis said the quick goals by Loras deflated the team a bit, but they didn’t give up.
“I think it’s only natural to have a little bit go down in terms of confidence, but it’s tough to give it up those two times,” Dennis said. “We were a little down, but I thought we knew we could still play, compete and get some goals.”
Associate head coach Michael Siener said Loras used its size and aggressive play to come out on top in the contest.
“Loras showed they have a lot of depth, some size up top, some dangerous players in the midfield; they were fit,” Siener said. “When they had restarts, they played dangerous ball and had guys who could throw the ball in far. There weren’t a lot of holes in their game. I think they’ve got a good team that’s probably built for making a run in the tournament. They definitely had a nice team.”
Even with it being the second game of the season, Doggendorf said there was some added intensity because of the rematch with Loras.
“There was definitely some tension coming into the game, because it was heartbreaking when they beat us my freshman year,” Doggendorf said. “We knew who they were, obviously, and they’re still a very good team. We got to take it one game at a time.”
The next day, Webster was able to move on with a 2-0 win over Rhodes College (Tenn.). After a scoreless first half, Webster attacked with goals from senior forward Clint Carder and sophomore midfielder Jeff Wallner in the 56th and 68th minutes, respectively. Carder’s goal was his secnond of the year. The win puts men’s soccer at 2-1 so far in 2012.
Webster’s next games are Sept. 15 and 16 at North Central College (Ill.) and Manchester College (Ind.).
The Gorloks went toe-to-toe with a formidable opponent on Saturday, but Siener said Webster can use the loss against Loras as a learning experience for the rest of the season.
“I hope they learn from this game,” Siener said. “We can easily play a soft schedule and get a bunch of wins, but you don’t learn a lot about what you need to improve on. Hopefully, the guys will learn from those moments.”