Courtesy of Dominican University
CHICAGO -- The Dominican University men's soccer team, appearing in its 14th NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship in program history, saw its tournament run come to an end with a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capital University Crusaders on Saturday night at Stagg Field in Chicago. The loss drops the Stars to 14-5-0 on the season while Capital advances to the regional championship match where they will meet the host University of Chicago Maroons.
"I'm very proud of my team," commented Erick Baumann, the Stars' head coach, following the loss. "I'm proud of the fight, the battle and the intensity they played with. We have five seniors exhausting their eligibility and all five of them left it on the field. We played with intensity. We played with passion. We took it to them. This can be a cruel game at times and we were on the wrong side of the scoreboard."
The Capitals opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, scoring a restart goal when Chewy Gordon got on the end of Greg Knox's corner kick service at the back post, knocking in for his 11th goal of the season.
The Crusaders carried the 1-0 lead into halftime despite Dominican outshooting Capital, 9-6, and holding a 2-1 advantage in corners.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Dominican got the equalizer it was searching for when Nestor Ascencio sent Isaac Perez up the left flank. Perez served a ball for the back post where Adam Yaghmour headed down a shot that was initially turned away by Justin Niswonger but Yaghmour pounced on the rebound, knocking in his 14th goal of the season.
"Getting that goal early in the second half was huge," said Ascencio. "It gave us a morale boost and we knew we were back in it. From that moment we kept battling for each other."
Dominican continued to take it at the Capitals throughout the final thirty minutes of regular time, getting off ten shots in the second half and putting four on frame, forcing Niswonger to make three second-half saves to get his team to overtime.
"We knew we had the momentum going into the overtime," continued Ascencio. "We wanted to keep putting it on them and taking it at them believing that eventually, another one would come but unfortunately that didn't happen."
After not getting off a shot in the first overtime, Dominican managed three shots in the second extra period, including hitting the crossbar in the 106th minute. The shot would be the final for Dominican while Capital pressed forward in the final minute of overtime, eventually striking for the golden goal when Daniel Bundschuh's low shot to the near post ricocheted off the post before rolling over the goal line for the game-winner.
The Stars finished with a 22-16 advantage in shots with Capital putting ten of their 16 shots on frame while Dominican managed just six on goal. The Stars also held a slight 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The match was intense and physical, seeing a combined 45 fouls called, 27 against the Crusaders and 18 against Dominican. Eleven total cautions were issued along the way. Six Capital players were booked while Dominican was booked five times.
For Dominican, the match marked a return to the national tournament for the first time since 2014 after Dominican won its first Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Tournament title since 2013 last Saturday.
"This team has put Dominican men's soccer back into the national picture," continued Baumann. "We can look to build upon that foundation left by this team moving forward."