The Webster University Men’s Soccer team advanced to their third straight St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Championship match after defeating the Fontbonne University Griffins 2-1. Earlier in the season, the Griffins gave the Gorloks their only regular season conference loss, when the Griffins defeated the Gorloks 3-0.
Head Men’s Soccer Coach Michael Siener said the players on the respective teams have a rivalry because most of the players on each team are from St. Louis.
“You see that kind of grudge and physicalness because this isn’t the first battle that they’ve had,” Siener said.
The physicalness Siener referred to resulted in three yellow cards being issued throughout the game.
Junior midfielder Jeff Wallner got the scoring started for the Gorloks with his first goal of the SLIAC playoffs. Wallner has made the SLIAC Championship match each of his three years. He said making the championship match with a young group is probably the most special.
“To get there again this year, it’s awesome,” Wallner said.
With fifteen minutes remaining in the match, freshman forward Alex Whalen ran loose on a breakaway, then fired a shot past Fontbonne Goalkeeper Ryan Essenpreis to give the Gorloks a 2-0 lead late in the second half.
“I just turned, and it was me and the goalie on a breakaway,” Whalen said. “I just had to play (one on one) against the goalkeeper and just beat him.”
Wallner said, since most of the soccer players in the match know each other, it creates a rivalry.
“They all kind of know each other,” Wallner said. “That creates a little (bit of) extra chit-chat out there and also a little extra competitiveness.”
Fontbonne senior forward Zach Meyer fired a shot past Webster Goalkeeper Brian Woodward to cut the Gorlok deficit down to one goal with five minutes remaining in the match.
Siener said he was pleased with the teams performance against the Griffins.
“Moving forward, we just got to continue to I think to just maintain that intensity and that fight,” Siener said.
The Gorloks will face the winner of the other SLIAC semifinal matchup, Westminster College Blue Jays against the Greenville College (Ill.) Panthers. If the Blue Jays win, the Gorloks will travel to Westminster Field in Fulton, Mo. If the Panthers win, the Gorloks will host Greenville at the Soccer Park. The SLIAC Championship match takes place at 7 p.m. on November 8.