KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Lindenwood won the NCAA Division II Central Region championship on Friday in Kansas City, Mo., with a 1-0 victory against Fort Hays State. The Lions advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday.
The first half was evenly played with just eight shots and only one shot on goal. The shot on goal came from Fort Hays State but it was right at Lindenwood goalie Fermin Hughes.
Play picked up quickly in the second half as the Tigers nearly took the lead twice in the first minute of the half. The first shot deflected off a Lindenwood player and went off the mark. Off the corner kick, a Fort Hays State player got a good header towards the right side of the goal, but Hughes made a diving save.
In the 52nd minute of the game, the Lions scored the only goal of the game. MIAA MVP Mauricio Medina flipped a pass over the defense and found Ignacio Pizarro Romera on stride. Romera was able to slide a shot past the goalie into the left corner of the goal.
The rest of the second half saw Fort Hays State control the action, but it could never get another shot on goal. It had two scoring chances in the final 10 minutes. In the 83rd minute, the ball was loose in the box but the Fort Hays State shot went just wide. It had another quality opportunity in the 87th minute that also went wide. The Tigers continued to apply pressure until they committed a foul with 22 seconds left. Lindenwood was able to run most of the remaining time off before putting the ball back into play.
Fort Hays State outshot Lindenwood 17-9, including a 15-3 mark in the second half, and the Tigers had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. Lindenwood's defense kept Fort Hays State from putting shots on goal and helped the Lions win the regional title in their first year eligible for the NCAA tournament.
Lindenwood improves to 18-0-3 on the season.