Nov. 22, 2009

Courtesy of Whitworth

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Fifth-ranked Dominican University scored a pair of second-half goals within ten minutes of each other and went on to defeat 15th-ranked Whitworth University 2-0 in the section final of the 2009 NCAA Division III men's soccer tournament on Sunday night at the Loras College Rock Bowl.

The Stars (19-1-3) advance to their first final four, which will take place in two weeks in San Antonio, Texas. The Pirates end their season with a record of 16-3-3.

Whitworth withstood strong pressure by Dominican early in the match. The Stars worked for three corner kicks in the first ten minutes of the match and outshot the Pirates 7-2 in the period. Justin Meyer had a clear shot for Whitworth that went just wide of the post midway through the half.

Dominican finally broke through early in the second half. Edwin Lagunas had a shot from close range that was saved by Pirate keeper Brian Sherpe, but Whitworth could not clear the rebound and Michael Kapusto was there to put the loose ball back into the net in the 54th minute of the match.

Just ten minutes later Ryan Roberts added an insurance goal after a long throw in from near the Whitworth end line.

Dominican outshot Whitworth 13-6, including a 4-1 edge in shots on goal. Sherpe made two saves for Whitworth, while Max Gutbrod stopped his only shot on goal for the Stars. Dominican also had a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.

The Pirates concluded their sixth trip to the NCAA Division III tournament with their second-deepest run ever. In 2005 Whitworth reached the final four. The Pirates are now 9-5-2 all time in the NCAA tournament.

Whitworth's senior class of Elly Bulega, Dan Cubero, Keith Kirsch, Bryan Olson and Brent Zahn complete their careers with three straight trips to the NCAA Division III tournament.

Dominican will meet Calvin College (Mich.), another first-time final four participant, in the semifinals.