Men’s soccer claims first-ever GLVC championship
For the first time in history, the University of Indianapolis men’s soccer won the Great Lakes Valley Conference championship on Nov. 9.
The Greyhounds faced off against Quincy University, defeating the Hawks 3-1 for the title.
The team’s record before heading into the championship game was 11-5-3, which included a 1-0 loss to Quincy earlier in the season.
Prior to the victory, Head Coach John Higgins explained that the regular season standings and matches did not matter when it came to conference time.
“Even early this year the talk was always about winning that conference tournament. It didn’t matter where we finished in the league as long as we go and we win that conference tournament,” Higgins said. “The goal for us now is to send our seniors out with a win and as champions. Our seniors deserve that end to their careers for all the sacrifice they have made for the program.”
The team achieved that as it handed the number one seed Hawks their first loss of the season.
Senior back Max Rohda scored the first goal of the game with a header in the 21st minute and senior forward Ngwese Ebangwese scored the second goal with a header in the 28th minute. Both goals were assisted with corner kicks from junior forward Zak Mitiche.
In the second half, the Hawks brought the game score to 2-1 in the 48th minute, but the Greyhounds pulled their lead farther and sealed the victory in the 81st minute with a goal from junior forward Jacob Meyer.
The Greyhounds were the sixth seed coming into the championship tournament, becoming the lowest seed in conference history to win the GLVC championship.
Prior to the win, the Greyhounds also upset then ranked No. 17 Drury University 1-0 on Nov. 7.
The first half of the game was scoreless and it was not until there were less than four minutes in regulation that redshirt junior midfielder Casey Zimmerman scored the game winning goal against the Panthers.
The Greyhounds had previously fallen to Drury in the regular season by a score of 1-0.
After that regular season loss, the Greyhounds revamped their field positioning, according to junior forward Daniel Wellmann. Before going into the semi-final game against Drury, Wellmann was confident the outcome of the game would be much different.
“I think it’s going to be a difference maker for the game on Friday, that we changed our shape and did a pretty good job in the last couple of games, in that shape in the midfield,” Wellmann said. “Looking back at that game we lost against Drury, I think we would have played better if we would have already played that shape. So I’m actually looking forward [to the game], and kind of excited playing those tactics against them [Drury] to see how they react against us.”
During the weekend before, on Sunday, Nov. 2, the Greyhounds defeated the third-seeded University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons, 2-0, in the quarterfinal round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.
Junior back Brendon Widau started the quarterfinal match game against Missouri-St. Louis with a goal for the Hounds at the 3-minute mark.
Widau put UIndy on the board by heading a chip in from junior midfielder Leo Cunningham. UIndy had six shots and one corner kick in the first half, but only one made it past the Tritons’ goalie, making the score 1-0 at the half.
The Greyhounds would not score again until the 74th minute in the second half. The goal came from Widau once again, after picking up a loose ball on a rebound from senior forward Ebangwese’s shot. Widau’s two goals were his first and second goals of the season.
The Greyhounds finished the game with 14 shots, while the Tritons followed right behind them with 13. Each team had five opportunities on corner kicks, but neither could capitalize on those opportunities.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Andrew Verhonik took the win in goal, saving seven shots during the match. The match would end in a 2-0 victory for the Greyhounds, which advanced them to the semifinal match of the tournament.
For further details on the Greyhounds’ postseason schedule, follow The Reflector, @ReflectorUIndy, and the men’s soccer team, @UIndyMensSoccer.