KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wheaton (Ill.) will play in the NCAA Division III men’s championship Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET thanks to an overtime golden goal from star forward Stephen Golz.
The goal came from a set piece in the second overtime of Wheaton’s semifinal win against SUNY Oneonta. Wheaton’s other goals came from an early penalty converted by defender Noah Anthony and a heads-up play from Adam Blackman later in the first half.
Golz was the highest scorer remaining in the tournament heading in to the match and raises his goal total to 26. His 20 regular-season goals made for eighth-highest total in Division III.
“It was just another set piece, which we get pretty used to on our team. I was able to get a little piece of it,” Stephen said of his game-winning goal.Stephen’s assist came from defender Noah Anthony’s free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box. Anthony leads Wheaton in assists with 11 on the year.
“Stephen has led us in goals for two straight years and this season he’s topped the 20-mark this year,” Wheaton coach Mike Giuliano said. “We’ve come to rely upon him for our offense these last two years. His brother Jordan is probably the hottest player we have right now. They are just a wonderful combination.”
Stephen, a sophomore, will play alongside his senior brother in Jordan’s last game of the season. His brother, Jordan, has been just as important to Wheaton’s tournament run. Jordan Golz scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory against Trinity (Texas) in the quarterfinals.
“It’s been awesome. I’m really happy he made the choice to come back for one more season,” Stephen said. “I was able to play with him for three years in high school and it’s great to get another three years with him in college.”
Much of Wheaton’s success in the 2014 season has come from set pieces and crosses into the 18-yard box. Wheaton assist leader Noah Anthony spoke about the Golz brothers’ ability in front of goal.
“Their play is very athletic and physical. They have great abilities to finish around the 18-yard box,” he said. “They’ve been huge assets for our team, especially on set pieces. Stephen is a great header of the ball.”
The brothers have carried Wheaton through the tournament, with both scoring to beat Trinity and Wartburg. Stephen recorded two more goals in the tournament in Wheaton’s 3-0 victory against Wisconsin-Whitewater.
“I was fortunate enough to play with my older brother for my first year at Wheaton and play with Stephen after that,” Jordan said. “It’s been such a privilege and a blessing to keep playing with guys that I’ve been playing with since I was six or seven.”
Jordan’s older brother Drew played for Wheaton during Jordan’s freshman year.
Jordan isn’t the only key component for Wheaton that is leaving at the end of the season. Giuliano will be resigning following Wheaton’s season. The Division III championship game will be his last as Wheaton’s coach.
“This is my last game tomorrow. 28 years of college coaching ends tomorrow,” said Giuliano. “What a cool place to end it.”