Eagles fall in second round of NCAA tournament

Men’s team season comes to a close in a loss to Parkside-Wisconsin


Brynn Meisse

Eagle 5th-year Haruki Kimura strikes the ball into the top right corner taking the lead.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

The Ashland University men’s soccer team received a bye in the first round of the NCAA Division II postseason tournament, and with the extra rest and preparation, the Eagles were unable to get the job done at Ferguson Field, losing to the Rangers 3-2.

The Eagles, who were playing red-hot after winning the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title, struggled in the second half of play before ultimately losing.

“Overall this season has been a successful one so far,” said 5th-year forward Haruki Kimura. “We achieved our goal of getting to the NCAA tournament even with some ups and downs throughout the season. The win against Cedarville [GMAC title match] showed us how good we can be and hopefully, we can continue that into the tournament.”

The Eagles started the first half of play against the Rangers with immense physicality and aggression.

With that aggression, came anger from the Ranger bench as two coaches and the bench would be given a yellow card.

The Eagles and Rangers continued on as both teams had opportunities. With 12 minutes left until halftime Kimura would get past one defender and rocket a shot into the top right corner to put the Eagles up 1-0.

In the 10th minute, the physicality would be brought against the Eagles as defender Mike Howell would be given a yellow card for a dangerous challenge and excessive arguing with the referee.

That would lead to uproar from the Ranger bench leading to a red card given to Head Coach Jason Zitzke, kicking him out of the match immediately. 

Just three minutes later Howell would receive another yellow card, kicking him out of the game immediately as well. Now, the Rangers would be without their head coach and starting center back.

The first half ended with the Eagles outshooting the Rangers 6-1 with both teams picking up seven fouls a piece

In the second half, play continued on with both teams taking turns having opportunities and shots on goal, but neither team would be able to find a goal until the 60th minute.

Defender Lars Popp would receive a cross from outside the 18 and with confidence, he rose up and headed the ball into the bottom left corner tieing the game up at one a piece.

Just five minutes later midfielder Vander Rocha weaved his way past defenders before sending in a right-footed cross where forward Jake Grove was able to get his head on the ball, finding the back of the net.

The Eagles took back the lead, 2-1, but right after Kimura would go down with an ankle injury removing him from the contest.

With 10 minutes left the Rangers drilled a corner kick deep inside the box and found the back of the net tieing the game back up at two.

Later on, with four minutes remaining in the second half, the Rangers would find the answering goal as midfielder Osvaldo Arellano Sanchez drilled one past two defenders and goalkeeper Ty Bowden to win the game for the Rangers.

The Rangers now look to the third round of the NCAA Division II postseason tournament where they take on the winner of Lewis vs. Maryville.

The Eagles on the other hand, walked off the field with a 12-6-1 record and a GMAC title under their belt despite the NCAA Division II tournament loss.