TOPEKA — So many times Kansas Wesleyan has gotten in the way of success for McPherson College’s men’s soccer team.
Not on Saturday.
Not even the Bulldogs’ No. 1 tormentor could deny them, as the Bulldogs came away with a 2-1 victory over the Coyotes in the finals of the KCAC Postseason Tournament to earn a trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
Mac, 14-3-2 on the season, will play on Nov. 22, with the site to be announced.
“Certainly a great win for the program," McPherson College coach Doug Quint said. "It's nice to get back to our championship ways. Today the KCAC Player of the Year (Oscar Cortez) and Offensive Player of the Year (Alex Ronneburg) showed why they earned the recognition they did with big goals for us. I couldn't be more proud of this group of men."
The Bulldogs and Coyotes had shared the KCAC championship with 8-0-1 records, as they tied 1-1 in McPherson during the regular season with both goals coming on penalty kicks.
Instead of the defensive slugfest of the first game, there was scoring early on. Cortez fired in a goal just 11 minutes into the game, assisted by Ronneburg. Jesse Lennon, though, answered less than a minute later to tie the game for KW.
At the 27:35 mark, Ronneburg — who hails from Germany — thundered a blast into the net to give Mac a 2-1 lead and its tremendous defense made it stand up. Tanner Horton, the Co-Freshman of the Year in the KCAC, had to face only one shot on frame by the Coyotes.
The game turned physical in the second half. After a clean first half by both sides, yellow and red cards started to fly, including six cards in a 10-minute stretch. There were 14 cards total and the Coyotes were hit with three reds.
The Bulldogs certainly were the better team statistically as they took 13 shots to five for KW.