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Loras Soccer Tops Luther in Penalty Kicks

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The Loras College men's soccer team is into the Sweet 16 following a 1-1 draw and shootout with fellow IIAC member Luther College on Sunday afternoon in the Rock Bowl. Loras converted all five penalty kicks and Dylan Milkent made one save to send Loras past the Norse.

Mother Nature cooperated just enough for Loras and Luther to renew their acquaintances in the Rock Bowl. The wind was steady from the west goal to the east goal and there were more than a couple inside-out-umbrellas by the time the 110 minutes of soccer and shootout had concluded. When it was all said and done, there was a plenty to cheer about for Duhawk Nation.

The first half saw the Duhawks outshoot the Norse 6-1 and threaten the Luther goal twice. A Duhawk header was cleared away from near the goal line and Norse goalkeeper Tommy Breen made back-to-back saves on Tom Fluegel and Johnny Rummelhart in the 19th minute to keep things scoreless. Breen's second effort was a leaping save which he tipped over the crossbar. The teams went to the intermission tied 0-0.

The second half started quickly for the Duhawks, despite playing into the wind. Three minutes into the half Richard Lenke's shot was deflected out for a Loras corner kick. Kevin Cavers sent it to Breen's doorstep where Johnny Rummelhart out-jumped the traffic to head home the game's opening goal. Luther's shot total grew in the second half, but most chances were sent wide or blocked clear by the Duhawks' back line. The visitors finally broke through in the 77th minute. Hollie Gray III's lofted cross towards the penalty spot made its way to the back post and Jon Gednalske was waiting to head it down and past Dylan Milkent in the Loras goal. Gednalske's equalizer set the stage for the final stretch in the Rock Bowl.

The Norse outshot Loras 4-3 over the final 13 minutes, but neither team conceded. Both overtime sessions were quiet, with the exception of a pair of Duhawk shots to force two more saves out of Breen. With a tie tagged onto each team's overall record, they headed to the west goal to decide the Sweet 16 participant from the penalty spot.

Loras shot first in each round, with the Norse following.

Each of the first three rounds were conversions for both teams. Kevin Cavers, Pat Langan, and Jorge Simon converted for the Duhawks. Brock Arend, Logan Martell, and James Garcia-Prats did the same for the Norse. The fourth round provided the drama and difference on Sunday. Tim van den Bergh made his shot ahead of the lone save of the shootout. Aaron Fargo was stopped by Milkent to make it 4-3. A conversion by Loras in round five meant the Duhawks would be out of reach, and Tom Fluegel did just that, setting off the celebration for the Duhawks.

The Norse finished 2013 with a share of the IIAC title and a 15-6-1 record. Loras added their third tie of 2013 to their record to make them 17-1-3. The Sectional round of the bracket is set. Loras will face 13-8-1 Westminster (Mo.) and Trinity (Tex.) will face Wartburg. The site and kickoff times will be determined soon.

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