OLATHE, Kan. — The No. 18-ranked Northeastern State men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end with a 3-2 loss to Fort Hays State in the semifinals of the MIAA Championship Thursday night at the College Boulevard Activities Center.
The RiverHawks (10-3-4), seeded No. 3 in the tournament, will miss out on the NCAA Championship after advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals a season ago. Fort Hays State (11-4-2), the tournament’s No. 2 seed, advanced to the finals of the conference tournament and will meet the winner of No. 1 Lindenwood and No. 4 Upper Iowa.
“Obviously it’s tough to take a loss in the conference tournament and be done with your season,” NSU coach Rob Czlonka said. “Our guys played hard all year and I’m proud of them. I thought we were an aggressive team tonight, but Fort Hays State played us well and we didn’t get the result. They capitalized on a couple of minor mistakes that we made, and typically those types of mistakes don’t result in goals. The third goal came because we were pushing forward trying to get the equalizer. That’s the risk you take when you start to go for another goal.”
Ricardo Yeverino opened the scoring for the Tigers with a marker in the 11th minute, and Northeastern State equalized just 27 seconds later when junior forward Jordan Schmoker found the back of the net with help from junior forward Juan Peralta and sophomore midfielder Crosby Lee.
Michael Cole put FHSU up in the 23rd minute and the black and gold took a 2-1 advantage into halftime.
Cole scored his second of the match in the 65th minute, which proved to be the game winner after Schmoker added his second of the match in the 66th minute.
The RiverHawks could not find the equalizer and fell to 2-3-3 all-time to the Tigers.
Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Shephard (5-2-3) allowed three goals and made six saves, while Jason Babyak stopped six NSU shots.
RiverHawks garner 10 All-MIAA selections
The No. 18-ranked Northeastern State men’s soccer team had 10 individuals earn all-conference accolades, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association announced today.
Leading the charge for NSU was junior defender Eric Crawford, junior midfielder Jordan Schmoker and junior forward Juan Peralta. All three were named to the All-MIAA First Team.
Peralta is fourth in the MIAA in goals scored and is sixth overall in total points (9g-2a=20p), while Schmoker leads the nation in assists and is 10th in the league in total points (2g-13a=17p). Crawford is the captain of a backline that is second in the MIAA in fewest goals allowed (16) in 2013.
Peralta and Crawford were both first-team selections last season, and both were also named All-Americans a year ago. Schmoker was named honorable mention last year.
Honored on the All-MIAA Second Team were junior defenders Terence Smith and Adam Schmoker, sophomore defender Chance Miller, and sophomore forward Joel Mendoza.
Smith, Schmoker and Miller all star on a backline that is currently on pace to break the school record for fewest goals allowed in a season. Schmoker has three goals and an assist this season, while Smith has two goals and two helpers and Miller has one assist. Mendoza is tied for the team lead in points (20), and he leads the entire MIAA in goals and points during conference matches (18).
The RiverHawks also had three student-athletes land All-MIAA Honorable Mention accolades. Those were senior midfielder Edgar Gonzaga, sophomore midfielder Paul Samia and sophomore goalkeeper Eric Shephard.