Nov. 13, 2009

Courtesy of Drury

Senior forward Steve Wilczewski's goal in the 67th minute lifted top-seeded Drury to a 1-0 victory over fourth-seed Northern Kentucky in the NCAA-II Super Regional IV opening round before 811 fans at Harrison Stadium Friday night.

As a result of their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in men's soccer, the nationally second-ranked Panthers (21-1-0) will face third-seeded Lewis (14-3-2) at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Harrison for the right to move on to the national quarterfinals, which will be hosted by Sunday's winner. Lewis advanced by rallying for a 2-1 overtime win over Ashland in Friday's first match.

Wilczewski's team-leading 17th goal of the season broke up another tremendous defensive duel between teams who'd just endured a similar game on Sunday, when Wilczewski again delivered the game-winner, that time knocking off the Norse with his goal in the 78th minute.

"I don't think anyone's surprised, but it's absolutely incredible the number of goals Stevie's scoring, and the big goals he's scoring for us," Drury coach Ryan Swan said.

"I think the match was exactly what we expected ... a high-tempo game, very physical, and it was one of those where one goal was going to win it."

This time, the former Springfield Glendale standout worked his way around the right edge and fired a shot that deflected off a Norse defender and past keeper Michael Lavric for Wilczewski's eighth game-winner of the season and 12th of his career. It was also Wilczewski's 35th goal of his career, moving him closer to the school-record 37 scored by John Pedroli from 1999-2002.

From there, the Panthers fought off several attacks by the Norse (15-6-2), as sophomore keeper Stephen Conner posted his second straight shutout against NKU and school-record 14th for the season.

Drury outshot the Norse 14-8.

The Panthers took two out of three meetings with the No. 17 Norse this season, with all three matches decided by one goal. Wilczewski had all three of Drury's goals against Northern Kentucky this season.