Release courtesy of Dominican University athletics communications
DECORAH, Iowa --- The Dominican University men's soccer team scored their seventh straight victory on Saturday night, a 2-0 shutout over the Gustavus Adolphus College Gusties in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship to advance to Sunday's regional championship match in Decorah, Iowa. Isaac Perez scored the game-winner and picked up an assist as the Stars improved to 15-5-1 on the season.
"Isaac has really turned it on here down the final stretch of our season," said Erick Baumann, the Stars' head coach in his 24th season. "His box scores have shown it. He is putting the ball in the back of the net and is a big playmaker. He has really flipped the switch and when Isaac flips that switch he is unstoppable."
After a scoreless first half, a quick Dominican counter in the 53rd minute proved to be the game-winner. Corbin Voyles connected with Benji Ibarra near midfield before Ibarra played forward to Perez who slipped a low shot into the side netting of the far post past the Gusties' Anders Severson for his 11th goal of the season.
Seven minutes later freshman Jonathan Hernandez added an insurance tally for the Stars. Alexander Lulek connected with Perez up the left flank before Perez sent a high cross towards the back post that drew Severson off his line. Severson jumped to try to punch the ball away but Perez's service managed to make its way through to Hernandez on the back side and the rookie knocked in his ninth goal of the season.
Dominican continued to take the game at the Gusties while Daniel Dominguez made a pair of saves after the Stars opened the 2-0 lead to close out the shutout victory.
Dominican outshot Gustavus Adolphus on the match 16-12, with each side putting six on frame. Dominguez turned away six shots, picking up the shutout in his first career NCAA national tournament action. The rookie improves to 14-5-0 in goal on the season with his sixth shutout.
"Gustavus had a fantastic season," said Baumann. "Great side. Great competitive game. A lot of respect for them and what they did all year long, not just tonight."
A frozen pitch led to players on both teams sliding as they attempted to make cuts in what was a high-tempo match.
Baumann continued, "Those were some tough conditions out there tonight but our players did a great job of executing our game plan. It's going to be a quick turnaround against another very good side tomorrow."
In tomorrow's second round matchup, Dominican will meet the host Luther College Norse who scored a 1-0 overtime victory over Knox College earlier in the day. Kickoff between the Stars and Norse is slated for 5:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the sectional semifinals of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship next weekend.