The Heidelberg University men’s soccer team, ranked fourth in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament, traveled to Ada, Ohio to face off against the number one ranked Polar Bears of Ohio Northern in OAC semifinal action. The Polar Bears scored three goals in the first half, which proved too much for Heidelberg to overcome. The Berg fell, 3-1 in Ada.
In their regular season matchup in Tiffin, the Polar Bears romped the Student Princes, 5-0. Their semifinal matchup looked to be headed to another 5-0 defeat, but Heidelberg came out in the second half and outplayed the Polar Bears for the final 45 minutes.
As a team, the Berg tallied nine shots in the second half and held the powerful Ohio Northern offense to just five shots.
Freshman Chris Koczak (Springboro) netted the lone Heidelberg goal of the contest in the 66th minute. Koczak finishes his freshman campaign with a team-high ten goals. Koczak’s goal was set up by classmate Ryan Homoki (Grafton/Midview), who crossed the ball into the box from the left side.
The assists marks Homoki’s second of the season.
Offensively, Koczak led the Student Princes with four shots, followed by sophomore Nico Samaneigo (Huron) who recorded two of his own in the loss.
The Polar Bears kept the Berg offense at bay for a majority of the game until Koczak’s goal, midway into the second half.
In the 81st minute, Andy Lacefield (North Lima/South Range) placed a beautiful shot on goal, that might have brought the Ohio Northern lead to one, but the ONU keeper hauled it in.
Following Lacefield’s shot on goal, Heidelberg was awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute. Senior Ryan Smith (Roanoke, TX/Keller) stepped up for the penalty kick opportunity. Smith booted a low, hard shot to the left side of the net but it curved outside of the post.
Sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Stevens (South Lyon, MI) tallied three saves for the Student Princes. Stevens faced no shots on goal from the Polar Bears in the second half.
In 2012, Stevens collected 89 saves. He boasted a save percentage of .730, in his first year between the posts for the Student Princes.
The Heidelberg men end their 2012 campaign with an overall record of 10-7-3. Entering the season, the Berg men’s soccer team was picked to finish ninth in the conference.
But with a line up that contained only four upperclassmen, the Student Princes managed to play to a 4-2-3 record in the OAC and qualify for the conference tournament as the fourth seed. They then beat Capital University in a grueling match, 3-2, only to fall to the seventh ranked team in the country, Ohio Northern.