MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Its eighth consecutive win turned out to be the most important for the ONU men's soccer team as it gave the Tigers their second CCAC Tournament title in program history. However, a berth in the NAIA National Tournament did not come easy. The CCAC regular season champion, Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.), took ONU through two overtimes and into a shootout as neither team was able to find the back of the net in 110 minutes. In the game-deciding shootout, the Tigers won 4-1 when Tyler Gill (Plainfield, Ill.) put his by the Wolves goalkeeper.
In a very physical game that saw 37 total fouls, each team was reluctant to give anything to the opposing offense. The Tigers (14-4-3) only managed four shots in the first half and Wolves (13-5-1) had nine. The final 65 minutes of play only witnessed eight shots total giving into a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation, however the Tigers had one good scoring chance when Logan Engelkes (Winnebago, Ill.) tried to score off a cross but a Wolves defender made a diving save. Besides that the overtime sessions were very uneventful as there was only one shot, one corner kick, and three fouls recorded.
After the second overtime concluded the title was to be claimed by a shootout. Each team was given five shots at goal. The Tigers was able to convert on four shots by Paddy Hoepp (Frankfurt, Germany), John Nardozzi (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), Robby Gunderson (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Gill. Cardinal Stritch was only able to convert one by Curtis Hunter, with the other shots missed.
Freshman goalkeeper Zach Chambers (Flanders, N.J.) played the entire game, shutting down the Wolves with five saves in total. ONU was outshot by Stritch 12-9, and the Wolves had more of them on goal, by a margin of 5-3. Head coach David Blahnik said, "Chambers was awesome, he made several big saves, giving an opportunity to win". The Wolves goalkeeper had three saves.
Blahnik commented on defender Kyle Reopelle (Elgin, Ill.) and Richard Paret (West Chicago, Ill.), "they played outstanding throughout, giving great effort the entire game".
The Tigers will now await pairings, announced on Monday, Nov. 12 for the opening round of the national tournament to played on Saturday, Nov. 17.