HAYS, Kan. – Rogers State captured the 2019 GAC/MIAA Men’s Soccer Championship crown as the Hillcats survived penalty kicks against top-seeded Fort Hays State on Sunday from the FHSU Soccer Complex. After playing to a 2-2 tie through regulation and two overtime sessions, the Hillcats scored a 4-3 advantage on penalty kicks.
The penalties opened with the Tigers’ Arsenio Chamorro missing wide of the target. The next seven kickers successfully made their tries giving the Hillcats (13-5-2) the 4-3 lead heading into the final scheduled round. Rogers State goalkeeper Austin Wormell made a lunging stop to his right of Ross Boyd’s attempt to secure the title for the Hillcats.
Each side briefly held leads during regulation. Fort Hays State (13-5-2) grabbed the 1-0 advantage in the 10th minute when Moritz Walther converted a penalty kick. The Hillcats leveled the contest in the 19th minute when Chris Sowder put home a cross by Jaxon Pitt that eluded Tiger goalkeeper Cullen Fisch.
The Hillcats scored first in the second half. In the 56th minute, Noah Robson’s left-footed strike found the upper right 90 for sixth goal of the season. The lead lasted less than five minutes as the Tigers’ Mauricio Etcheverry drove a low blast under Hillcat goalkeeper Dillon Dean with his first goal of the season.
Robson garnered the Tournament MVP award. Teammates Jaime Ponce, Michael Turner and Jordan Watson made the 12-man team. Chamorro, Etcheverry and Santiago Agudelo represented the Tigers. Harding’s Jeremy Nwonumah and Adrian Renteria, plus Northeastern State’s James Doyle and Aaron Ugbah rounded out the team.
The Hillcats and Tigers will learn their postseason fate on Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. during the selection show on NCAA.com. Fort Hays entered the week ranked eighth in Super Region #3 while Roger State sat in 11th. The top 10 schools from the four Super Regions advance to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.