By Michael Otero
The 12th ranked and second-seeded men’s soccer team defeated Wilmington University, who was ranked no. 6, by a score of 6-0 to advance to the third round of the NCAA Division II Championship. The Pioneers were led by a goal midway through the first half and a four goal half in the latter stanza.
In the 23rd minute, still with no goals for either team, junior back Joey Forgaard got the action going with a header off a corner kick from senior midfielder Matais Ruiz. That goal came just six minutes before the next tally from LIU. This time, the Pioneers were awarded a penalty kick and graduate midfielder Tom Bowen converted, giving his team a two-goal lead.
In the second half, it was more of the same from the Pioneers, as four more goals were added, compared to none for Wilmington. Goals via sophomore winger Oliver Hollingseater, sophomore midfielder Harry Pearse, junior forward Johann Kristjansson, and the aforementioned Ruiz made it a safe bet to put this match on the left side of the ledger for LIU.
The Green and Gold were the aggressors, outshooting their opponent at a clip higher than 4-1. Wilmington totaled just five shots against a stout Pioneer defense. Of those five shots, none
of them were on target, giving junior goalkeeper Jesper Malmstrom an easy day between the pipes. It was his 13th win of the season and his fifth shutout.
Head Coach Andreas Lindberg and his team are back in action on Saturday, Nov. 21, when they play top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University. Their opponent, ranked third in the nation, suffered only one loss the entire season and hasn’t allowed a goal in five matches. The Pioneers, who are battle tested, are riding high though. They have notched 15 goals in their last three games to just two goals. And LIU also has only lost once since Sept. 11.
The two powerhouses will lay it all on the line on in West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 19, in the third round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.