Messiah returns to DIII title game with overtime win against Loras
SAN ANTONIO -- Messiah sophomore midfielder Mike Kovach picked a good time to score a goal on Friday in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship semifinals Friday at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
Kovach scored in the first overtime period as the Falcons edged Loras 1-0. The Falcons, going for their ninth NCAA championship game, will take on Ohio Northern Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
"It was definitely an exhausting game, said Kovach. "Guys are bruised up and hurting after the game, but after the goal was put in everybody was dead sprinting to the alumni and i was just really excited about how it went. But, even though it felt amazing and it's great being able to score in a semifinal, we still have another game to go so it's something that we just put behind us and get ready for the next one."
Kovach scored in the 99th minute on an assist from Jeremy Payne. Loras had made a team save, and the scoring play went off the deflection. It marked Kovach's second game-winner of the season, and his fourth goal in three NCAA tournament games. He took four total shots, and two on goal.
The two teams battled through much of the hotly contested game. Messiah led Loras 23-14 on total shots, and 7-4 on goal.
Messiah (22-0-2), ranked No. 1 in the nation, last won the title in 2010. Head coach Brad McCarty won two of the championships, in 2009 and 2010.
"We knew we were going to have to withstand the initial storm," McCarty said. "We knew they played hard pressure, We knew they played direct, We know they played a lot of players, We knew they were a good team. I did think, as the game went on, we were able to,string our passes and impose our will."
Loras, playing in its third national semifinals (it lost to Messiah in the 2008 semis), completed the campaign with a 23-2-1 record.