Playing in only their third season as a sanctioned junior college soccer program, the Trappers, seeded 10th in the 12-team field, battled sixth-seed Cincinnati State Tech to a scoreless draw after the first half of action. Disaster struck soon after intermission though as Cincinnati freshman Tyler Gumbert drilled a shot under the sprawling dive of Northwest College goalkeeper Cameron Stanek just 49 seconds after play resumed, placing the Trappers in a 1-0 hole.
That score remained on the board despite some sustained pressure by the Trappers midway through the second half. Northwest forced the Surge goalie to make a leaping play to his right to tip a shot attempt wide. Cincinnati’s keeper scrambled again moments later to secure a bounding ball inside the box. The Trappers also had a lob attempt brush just high of the crossbar during second-half play.
With time winding down and the Trappers in need of a goal to force a shootout — national tournament pool games do not extend to overtime — Cincinnati was able to organize a counterattack against a pressing Northwest lineup. The Surge were able to use their numbers advantage as Kyle Grothaus provided an insurance goal in the 87th minute.
Cincinnati sent 18 shots on goal in the contest with 11 of them finding their way on target. Stanek saved nine of the shots. Northwest managed nine shots, putting five of them on target.
The loss to Cincinnati ousted Northwest from contention for one of the four semifinal spots in the national tournament. Tuesday’s game against Cincinnati was a must-win contest by virtue of a 4-0 loss to third-seeded Louisburg College on Monday afternoon.
The Trappers’ first-ever game at a national championship soccer tournament saw Northwest play the Hurricanes to a 0-0 draw in the first half. Like Tuesday’s contest against Cincinnati State Tech, it didn’t take long for disaster to strike once action resumed in the second half.
Adrian Gonzales scored an unassisted goal in the 47th minute for Louisburg College, starting an avalanche of four goals during a 12-minute span of action that buried the Trappers into a hole they’d never recover from.
The Trappers were under a constant barrage of pressure in the game. Louisburg unleashed 23 shots on goal, 12 of which were on target. The Trappers managed just eight shots by contrast, putting only two of them on the frame.
The losses bring to end a wild final month to the men’s soccer season for Northwest College. The Trappers initially had thought their season to be over more than two weeks ago after losing in the Region IX title contest to Western Wyoming.
The Trappers received new life the following day, however, when head coach Rob Hill learned by telephone that the team was one of two Region IX teams seeded into the West district tournament. The Trappers capitalized on their second chance, defeating third-ranked Yavapai by a 4-2 final score before avenging their regional loss to Western Wyoming, 1-0, to capture the district championship.
Northwest College finishes its season with a 17-8 record, an impressive accomplishment for a roster comprised almost exclusively of freshmen. Of the 25 players on Northwest’s roster, 21 of the Trappers’ players were in their first season of eligibility this fall.