Bulldogs have big challenge in national soccer opener

By Steve Sell
November 20, 2014
McPherson College Sports Information fle

McPherson College’s men’s soccer team journeys to Altoona, Iowa, for its opening-round game of the NAIA National Tournament.

The Bulldogs take on Grand View University of Iowa at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Spring Creek Complex, 7796 NE 38th Ave.

The Bulldogs were the KCAC co-champions during the regular season with Kansas Wesleyan, then defeated the Coyotes 2-1 in the thrilling championship game of the postseason tournament to earn the automatic berth.

The victory moved the Bulldogs into the national rankings for the first time this year at 14-3-2.

The Bulldogs started the season somewhat slow, but have gone 10-0-2 over their last 12 games and have outscored their foes 35-9 in the process.

The Bulldog defense has been tremendous, as their 10 shutouts in 19 games ranks seventh in the country.

Doug Quint, KCAC Coach of the Year, has a team led by the conference’s Most Valuable Player (Oscar Cortez), the Offensive Player of Year and Newcomer of the Year (Alex Ronneburg) and the KCAC Co-Freshman of the Year (Tanner Horton). Eight Bulldogs in all were named to some type of KCAC mention.

Ronneburg leads the Bulldogs with 11 goals and 9 assists. McPherson High grad Nick Torres is second with 9 goals and 4 assists, while Cortez (5-8) and Kevin Ndongo (6, 2) are other offensive threats.

Gran View is the No. 3 seed and it was sixth in the final rankings. The Vikings are 16-2-1 and have won their last five in a row.

The only common opponent for the teams is Westminister College of Utah, a team the Bulldogs defeated 1-0 while the Vikings were a 3-0 winner. Grand View had eight players earn league honors.

The winner of the opening-round contest will travel to Delray Beach, Fla., for the second round of the NAIA National Championships, which are scheduled for Dec. 1-2.