Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Drury Athletics

Lewis' lone goal inched just past the outstretched hands of DU keeper Stephen Conner Drury's best men's soccer season in school history truly came down to a matter of inches.

Lewis junior Mardoche Beya blasted home a perfectly-placed shot from 30 yards out just off the fingertips of Drury keeper Stephen Conner early in the second half as the third-seeded Flyers knocked off top seed Drury 1-0 in the NCAA-II Super Region IV finals in the rain Sunday at Harrison Stadium.

As a result, the Panthers' first-ever NCAA-II Tournament run ended in the Sweet 16, as Drury finished with a 21-2-0 record, easily the best in the program's history. Lewis (15-3-2) moves on to the Elite Eight next weekend after avenging a 3-0 loss to the Panthers at Harrison on Sept. 6.

This one was a defensive battle from start to finish, with Flyers' keeper Sebastian Kieruzal and a strong Lewis back row delivering the only shutout of the Panthers all season.

Kieruzal, the Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, matched DU keeper Conner - the GLVC Defensive Player of the Year - with five saves, as Drury outshot the Flyers 13-12. Lewis, however, managed eight shots in the second half to just three by the Panthers.

"Give Lewis credit ... they kept us from doing some of the things we like to do offensively," Drury first-year coach Ryan Swan said.

"It's a tough loss, especially when I think of our four seniors (Steve Wilczewski, Jake Allison, Ben Nabers and Andrew Bordelon) and their contributions to this special season. But I think this group as a whole is going to remembered for producing the best season this program has had."

Beya's goal, his third of the season, came at 50:22 and was assisted by Lewis senior standout Nestor Hernandez, who was named the region's Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Kieruzal claimed the region's Most Outstanding Defensive Player distinction.

Joining those two on the All-Region team were Lewis' Jose Ibarra and Zac Bond, Drury's Steve Wilczewski, Blake Wilson, Ben Taylor and Conner, Steven Beattie of Northern Kentucky and James Livingston of Ashland.

Wilczewski finished his career with 35 goals, second most in Drury history behind only the 37 scored by John Pedroli from 1999-2002. He also set a school mark with 85 points and for most goals by a DU senior (17), the second most ever scored by a Panther in a season. Junior Micah Whorton set a DU single-season record with 15 assists and 45 points and now holds the career assists mark with 22, while Conner established a new program record for shutouts (14), consecutive shutouts (8) and goals against average (0.50).

Team marks established by the Panthers this season included victories (21), goals (63), assists (54), shutouts (15) and points in a season (180) and fewest goals allowed (11).