Men’s soccer clinches berth in SLIAC tournament

Senior defender Mickey Dennis (second from right) hugs senior defender Shea Vogt as the Webster University men’s soccer team celebrates Vogt’s first-half goal to give the Gorloks a 1-0 lead over Fontbonne University. The Gorloks defeated the Griffins 2-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at St. Louis Soccer Park to earn a spot in the SLIAC tournament. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS.

Webster University senior defender Shea Vogt wasted no time on senior night. Not only did he score fast — four minutes into the game — but he tallied his first goal of the season as well.

Vogt’s goal was the game winner in a 2-0 victory over Fontbonne University on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at St. Louis Soccer Park. The win means the Gorloks have clinched a spot in the four-team St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

“To get that goal was the happiest moment I’ve had on this pitch,” Vogt said. “It was gorgeous.”

The goal gave Webster an early 1-0 lead against conference rival Fontbonne. The Griffins came into the game with an 11-4-2 record and had won four of their previous six conference games. The Gorloks lost to Fontbonne last year on a Griffin goal with 8.9 seconds left in the game, leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

The Gorloks made a statement by taking control of the game early. Webster sophomore goalie Brian Woodward only had to face two shots on goal the entire game, and the offense supplied enough scoring to give the team breathing room.

Sophomore midfielder Mike Wells scored the contest’s second goal with five minutes remaining in the first half. Wells bent the ball over the outstretched glove of Griffin goalkeeper Ryan Essenpreis on a corner kick. Scoring directly from a corner kick is a rare accomplishment in soccer, but Wells said he meant to do it and works on it in practice.

“I’ve never seen that happen in a game in my playing or coaching career,” associate head coach Michael Siener said. “What a great play.”

Siener said Wells has turned into another scoring threat for the Gorloks and given them a boost. While Wells’ offense has contributed to the Gorloks’ four-game winning streak — all in conference — so has their defense. The Gorloks only allowed the Griffins 11 shots in the game. Webster has allowed two goals in its last eight games.

“We had a really tough schedule playing Loras College and Wheaton College, and I think that we’ve figured some things out,” Vogt said. “It just took us awhile to understand what we needed to do throughout the year, and we brought it home for these last eight conference games — especially the last four.”

On Oct. 13, the Gorloks traveled to Eureka, Ill., and shut out the Red Devils 5-0. Wells scored two goals, while sophomore Taylor Overstreet, junior Marc Hager and senior Jurgen Rama recorded a goal each. Webster followed that game up with another five-goal offensive outburst at home against MacMurray College (Ill.). Despite the rain and a lengthy delay due to lightning, the Gorloks managed a dominant 32 shots. Junior forward Pat McCaffrey broke out with three goals in the game.

Webster continued its winning ways with a close 1-0 victory over Principia College on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Elsah, Ill. Siener said the team lost mental focus at the beginning of the game and was fortunate to not give up any goals in the first half. But Wells was able to score the game’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the second half.

Wells admitted he will have a little extra motivation in Webster’s final regular season game at Greenville College (Ill.) on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. He transferred from Greenville after his freshman year and knows what it’s like to play on the Panthers’ pitch.

“Playing against their crowd at their home field will be a challenge,” Wells said. “They always draw a big crowd, but I think we’re going to win.”

With the four-game winning streak, Webster is 10-5-1 overall and 6-1 in SLIAC play. If the Gorloks are able to tie or beat Greenville, they will clinch home-field advantage in the SLIAC tournament, which begins Thursday, Nov. 1.

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