KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Two first half goal propelled the Indiana Wesleyan University men's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) College to capture the NCCAA National Championship on Saturday night in Kissimmee, Florida.
The NCCAA national championship is the first ever for the men's soccer program and the 23rd all-time for Indiana Wesleyan. The title is the sixth for the Wildcats during the past two seasons and 18th since 2000.
"This team is very deserving of this championship," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Mark Castro. "Our seven seniors, Andy Rdzok, Nick Coffman, Joel Trainer, Travis Brady, Christian Davis, Mason Bragg and Ben Chleboun, really turned this program around. Before this group came to Indiana Wesleyan, we were at the bottom of the conference. Since their arrival, we have won three conference championships and now a national title."
Indiana Wesleyan, the top seed in the tournament, struck early in the championship match with a goal in the 13th minute of action. Sophomore Kyle Meier took a free kick which was headed behind the retaining line by sophomore Nick Fortini. The ball ended up being headed again by senior Joel Trainer to sophomore David Trainer who connected with the ball off his thigh as the ball bounded over the goalkeeper for the 1-0 Wildcat lead.
The 35th minute featured the final goal of the match off a corner kick for Indiana Wesleyan. Senior Mason Bragg played the ball from the corner but the defense attempted to clear the ball free. But the ball was sent directly to an awaiting Christian Davis who sent a one-time screamer to the back post. The ball smacked the post and ricocheted into the net for a 2-0 IWU advantage.
The championship match saw only nine shot attempts as No. 3-seed Roberts Wesleyan held a slim 5-4 advantage in the category. Indiana Wesleyan junior goalkeeper Spenser Lang earned three saves, including a world class save in which he deflected wide a sure goal in the waning minutes, to preserve the shutout.
"What a tremendous accomplishment for this team," said Castro. "They worked very hard all year and really played well at the tournament. It's a great way to go out. A story book ending."
Four Wildcats earned honors for their played at the national tournament. Joel Trainer was named Tournament Most Valuable Player and Chleboun was tagged Tournament Most Valuable Defender. Lang and sophomore Mitch Lobdell were recognized as members on the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.
Indiana Wesleyan's season comes to an end with an 18-8-0 record.