A defensively tough Gorlok squad looks to upend the offensively charged Dominican University Stars. Read…
Men’s soccer shot down late by Stars, eliminated from NCAA tournament
RIVER FOREST, Ill.— A 5-minute span went by quickly and decided the Gorloks’ fate, senior midfielder Agustin Villalba said. Within about five minutes, the Webster University men’s soccer team saw its 1-0 lead slip away to the No. 8-ranked team in NCAA Division III men’s soccer. The Dominican University Stars struck rapidly as they scored three goals in three and a half minutes in the second half.
The Gorloks fell 3-1 to Dominican in Round 1 of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday, Nov. 9. The loss ends Webster’s season with a 12-6-2 overall record.
“I don’t even know how to describe it” Villalba said. “Sadness. Sadness. You know it’s going to be your last game, and just in five minutes, all your efforts of the season go down. Sometimes you can’t even control it. Five minutes goes by fast, and everything is gone.”
It was a battle between the Stars — the nation’s second-best offense (3.89 goals per game) — and Webster — a defense with 1.16 goals against average.
Webster’s first shot on goal by junior striker Pat McCaffrey came in the 19th minute, but McCaffrey missed the head ball. The Gorloks’ bench cried out over the missed opportunity.
Webster struck first in the contest. Senior forward Clint Carder netted his seventh goal of the year in the 30th minute to put Webster ahead 1-0.
“It was a release of the anxiety that we’d been holding,” senior midfielder Shea Vogt said after the game. “Coming into a team that was top 8 in the nation, it stressed us out — a little bit, but not much. To get that goal, (it) alleviated all the pressure that we had on our backs. It allowed us to play the game we knew we could play.”
Senior midfielder Adam Ullo and senior defender Kyle Leonard left the field due to injury in the first half. Ullo did not return to the game, but Leonard was back on the field to start the second half. The athletic trainers’ table was busy as four times in the game, Webster athletic trainers tended to Gorloks on the field and took them out of play.
“It was very physical, honestly,” Vogt said. “Especially, I felt like we got the raw end of it. We battled back. We knew it was going to be a physical game, and I think we rose to the occasion.”
Webster headed into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The Gorloks managed three total shots, two shots on goal from Carder.
Three minutes into the second half, sophomore midfielder Josh Papes was taken off the field by athletic trainers. He did not return to the game. In the 59th minute, Leonard re-exited the game and had his knee iced up. Leonard did not re-enter the contest after that.
Then, the lead caved in for Webster.
Dominican’s Andy Lynch took a penalty kick in the 69th minute to knot up the contest at 1-1. The Dominican home crowd erupted and came to life. Three minutes later, a head ball slipped by Webster sophomore goalie Brian Woodward and put Dominican on top for good.
“It’s a fine line,” Webster coach Marty Todt said. “In any situation, you get a bad call, and that results in another bad call, all of the sudden the flood gates open up. It was heartbreaking, but it’s part of life.”
The game’s final goal was scored by Dominican’s Trent Miller on a free kick to make it 3-1 Stars in the 73rd minute.
Even with the loss, Vogt will remember the time he’s spent with and the friends he’s made on the Webster men’s soccer team.
“I was frustrated, to say the least,” Vogt said. “But to be on the field with these guys, to be finish up my season with the friends that I’ve made, it was nice.”