Twice a game-winner
Kovach named offensive MOP after Messiah's ninth title win
SAN ANTONIO -- Messiah sophomore midfielder Mike Kovach was credited with the scoring the game-winning goals in his top-ranked Falcons two victories Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.
Kovach scored in overtime in the semifinals as Messiah edged Loras 1-0. He also scored the second goal, which proved to be the game-winner, in the 5-1 championship win against Ohio Northern. The Falcons won their ninth overall championship.
For his efforts, Kovach was named Tournament Offensive MVP. All of the goal scorers were members of the Falcons sophomore class -- Jeremy Payne (two goals,), Brian Ramirez, and Carter Robbins.
In all, 57 percent of Messiah's goals during the season were scored by the sophomore members, which should bode well for the Falcons future. Still, Kovach wants his teammates to become team leaders. Messiah scored 92 goals during its campaign and during the Final Four.
"We felt like we had a lot to prove [this year]," said Kovach, whose team lost in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament. "We let our seniors down last year. Throughout the season, we had a whole new attitude, and do what's best for the team. Hopefully, in years to come, we can transition the leaders on the team to help the younger guys."
Kovach is quite a motivator, as he plans to major in health and exercise science, and possibly become a strength and strength conditioning coach.
Senior Logan Thompson was selected as the Tournament Defensive MVP. The Falcons allowed 10 goals during the season, including two during the weekend. He used last season's early-round loss as the impetus to return to San Antonio.
"We were super disappointed not to be able to travel and come to Texas again," said Thompson, a Christian ministries major who played on his third NCAA championship team. " As a senior, coming in and knowing that every game could be my last, it was the desire of all the seniors to just make it to the next weekend. After we made it to Texas, we had to recheck ourselves, and say, 'what's our purpose now.' That's when we decided we wanted to fight for the guys on the team."