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Season Over for Mount Union Men

ADA, OH - November 2, 2011 - The Mount Union men's soccer team lost to No. 9 Ohio Northern, 6-0, in an Ohio Athletic Conference semifinal match Tuesday afternoon in Ada. The Purple Raiders end their season 10-8-2 and had their best OAC Tournament showing in program history. The Purple Raiders began the match as the aggressor.

In the fifth minute, senior Kevin Cindric found a loose ball near a scramble in front of the net and kicked it into the goal for an apparent 1-0 Raider lead. However, the referee on the near sideline signaled offsides, wiping the goal off the scoreboard. The match remained scoreless through 25 minutes when Ohio Northern took control by scoring three goals in the next five minutes. Nathan Bescom, the OAC's second-leading goal scorer put one in goal off a cross in the box at the 25:07 mark, Cameron Johnson added a goal off a long throw-in at the 28:52 mark, and Christian Huelsman capped the flurry with a header from Austin Windsor at the 29:46 mark. Goals by Cory Dobkins and Huelsman gave the Polar Bears a 5-0 halftime lead.

Huelsman scored his third goal of the match in the second half to complete the hat trick for the 6-0 final score. Junior goalkeeper Jon Critell made four saves for Mount Union. Sophomore Alex Bable played 14 scoreless minutes in goal.

Mac Church made two saves to record his OAC-leading 11th shutout of the season. The Polar Bears (17-2-2) extend their unbeaten streak to 13 and will host the winner of tonight's John Carroll/Baldwin-Wallace match Saturday in the OAC Tournament championship. The Purple Raiders were the only OAC team that Ohio Northern did not defeat during the regular season, playing to a 1-1 tie in Alliance.

ISN's coverage of Mount Union soccer is presented by Pelé Sports. Feeling and technique are the two qualities that reflect Pelé Sports: The brand philosophy combines the legendary Brazilian enthusiasm for playing football, along with top products that are designed to completely satisfy a footballer's every demand. The inspiration of the football legend Pelé, who is also directly involved in product development, can be felt in every product: Futebol bonito, regardless of who you are and where and how you play. This desire is combined with an outstanding price-performance ratio. The P-Sports company was founded in 2009 and has its US headquarters in Aspen, Colorado. A selected team of product design specialists and football experts are managing the international launch of the Pelé Sports brand under license in June 2010. Sales and distribution through selected specialist sports stores will start with a mixture of the brand's own marketing and distribution subsidiaries and selected distribution partners. 

MU Moves On

WILMINGTON, OH - October 31, 2011 - No. 5 seed Mount Union knocked off No. 4 seed Wilmington in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Monday night in Wilmington.

In their seventh OAC Tournament appearance, the Purple Raiders (11-7-2) won their first-ever match (1-4-2) and advance to the semifinals to take on top-seed and regular season champion Ohio Northern Wednesday at 2 pm in Ada.

Sophomore Thomas Beck scored the lone goal of the match as he hit in a header into the goal off a cross from freshman Chris Motley in the 54th minute. The Mount Union defense was strong as it allowed only one shot on goal for the evening and junior goalkeeper Jon Critell posted his eighth shutout of the season. 

MU Men Headed to OAC Tourney

WESTERVIILE, OHOctober 29, 2011 - A first half goal by Kevin Cindric was enough for the Mount Union men's soccer team to earn a 1-0 win on the road over Otterbein.

Cindric's goal came with under a minute remaining in the first half. He was able to gather a ball just outside the box and beat the keeper to give the Purple Raiders a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. This was the third goal of the week for Cindric, who scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Muskingum on Tuesday night. That was all of the scoring junior goalkeeper Jon Critell would need. Critell made two saves in recording his seventh shutout of the season. Otterbein (5-10-2, 3-6-0) goalkeeper Kyle Ripma made six saves.

The win clinches a second straight Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament appearance for Mount Union. The Purple Raiders (9-8-2, 4-3-2) will play Monday night at 7 p.m. and will learn their opponent upon the conclusion of tonight's Heidelberg at Wilmington match. 

Cindric the Hero for MU

ALLIANCE, OH - October 25, 2011 - Mount Union's men's soccer earned a crucial victory as they continue their quest for a berth in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament.

Behind a pair of goals by Kevin Cindric, the Purple Raiders defeated Muskingum, 2-0, in their final home match of the regular season. Cindric wasted little time beginning his big night, scoring an unassisted goal in the box just over four minutes into the game. In the 59th minute, Jack Weber fed a beautiful pass in the box to Cindric, who was able to beat the keeper for the 2-0 lead. That is all of the offense that Mount Union goalkeeper Jon Critell would need. The junior made four saves in recording his sixth shutout on the season. Cindric narrowly missed his first collegiate hat trick. The senior put a rebound shot off the post in the 18th minute. Thomas Beck had a breakaway opportunity, but was turned away by Muskingum goalkeeper Hunter Huffman (nine saves). Cindric was in position for the putback, but saw the shot hit off the left post.

The Raiders return to action on Saturday when they travel to Westerville for the regular season finale with Otterbein. Mount Union will secure a spot in the OAC Tournament with a win, tie, or Capital loss to John Carroll. A win or tie paired with a Wilmington loss to Heidelberg will give the Raiders a first round home match for the second straight season. 

Beck's Goal Not Enough for MU Men

ALLIANCE, OH - October 22, 2011 - A goal Thomas Beck goal in the 31st minute was not enough as Mount Union dropped an Ohio Athletic Conference game to Capital by a 4-1 margin. Beck drilled in a scissor-kick off a perfectly placed pass in the box by Chris Motley in the 30th minute.

For Capital, Daniel McCarthy scored goals in the 38th and 73rd minute to power the Crusaders to their second league win. Also scoring for Capital was Nick Eley (18th minute) and Tim Rieser (88th minute). The loss drops Mount Union to 2-3-2 in the OAC, and 7-7-2 overall.

The Purple Raiders return to action Tuesday, as they host Muskingum at 7 p.m. 

B-W Downs Mount in Men's Soccer Action

BEREA, OH - October 19, 2011 - Mount Union's men's soccer team fell at Baldwin-Wallace, 2-1, Wednesday night. A win would have afforded the Purple Raiders (7-6-2, 2-2-2) some breathing room as they seek a second consecutive berth in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament. Ben Deighton scored in the 72nd minute to give the Yellow Jackets, ranked fourth in the region, the victory.

Chris Motley discarded a pair of defenders before scoring just before halftime for the Raiders to even the match at 1-1. Baldwin-Wallace struck first when the OAC's leading scorer, Carlin Vandendrirssche, scored on a pass from Noah Eubanks at the 32:08 mark.

Jon Critell made five saves in goal for the Purple Raiders. Ryan Hulings turned away eight shots for Baldwin-Wallace (14-2, 5-1). Mount Union will return to action on Saturday as they host Capital at noon. The team's nine senior players will be recognized prior to the game.

Cindric's Goal Powers MU Men's Soccer over Heidelberg 

ALLIANCE, OH - October 15, 2011 - Kevin Cindric's goal in the 25th minute would prove to be all the scoring Mount Union men's soccer team would need as they defeated Heidelberg, 1-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference contest. Both teams seemed to be feeling each other out when Cindric drove the ball into the Heildelberg box and managed to sneak the ball past the keeper. Goalkeeper Jon Critell managed three saves as he recorded his fifth shutout of the year.

Mount Union held the advantage in shots (20-13) and shots on goal (10-3). For Heidelberg, goalkeeper Ryan Smith saved nine of ten shots on goal. The Purple Raiders pull themselves to 2-1-2 in the conference and 7-5-2 overall.

Mount Union returns to action Wednesday, October 19, when they travel to Berea to take on the Yellow Jackets of Baldwin Wallace.

MU Men's Soccer Takes Late Loss at John Carroll 

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH - October 11, 2011 - John Carroll rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the final two minutes of regulation to score a 2-1 overtime victory over Mount Union in an Ohio Athletic Conference men's soccer match Tuesday night in University Heights.

Mount Union takes its first OAC loss of the season and falls to 6-5-2 overall and 1-1-2 in the OAC, while John Carroll stays unbeated in conference play at 4-0 and is 8-5 overall. The Purple Raiders got on the board in the 41st minute as Leo Hicks and Thomas Beck combined to feed Phil Spagnolo who scored and made the score 1-0 at the half. A physical second half continued and the game stayed 1-0 until Cory Rider scored in the 88th minute to tie the contest. Rider factored in the overtime as he was fouled in the box and converted the penalty kick in the 97th minute to put the game away.

Jon Critell did yeoman's work in goal as he had nine saves for Mount Union. Carl Contrascier had five saves for the Blue Streaks, who out-shot the Raiders 24-15. Mount Union returns home and hosts Heidelberg in an OAC matchup Saturday at 7 pm in Mount Union Stadium. 

Mount Union Men's Soccer Battles Marietta to 3-3 Draw

MARIETTA, OH - October 8, 2011 - The Mount Union men's soccer team remained unbeaten in Ohio Athletic Conference play with a 3-3 draw at Marietta Saturday afternoon. The Purple Raiders (6-4-2, 1-0-2) have now tied their last two matches.

Thomas Beck (Poland/Cardinal Mooney) opened the scoring with a goal in the 29th minute. A Marietta goal late in the first half sent the teams into halftime tied at one. In the opening minutes of the second half, Kevin Cindric positioned a cross in the box that Anthony Grenga was able to direct into the net with his head for Mount Union to regain the lead. Marietta responded with two goals of their own, the second coming with 5:13 remaining in the second half, to take the lead.

With defeat seeming inevitable, Joey Trocchio scored his first collegiate goal on a ball that deflected off the keeper as he attempted to clear the ball. Both teams took five shots in the two overtime periods, but neither was able to manage a goal. Jon Critell recorded three saves for Mount Union. Chris Stollar made nine saves for Marietta (1-9-1, 0-2-1).

Mount Union returns to action Tuesday night when they travel to University Heights to take on John Carroll. 

Beck's Late Goal Ties Game as Men's Soccer Ties Ohio Northern 

ALLIANCE, OH - October 1, 2011 - The Mount Union men's soccer team battled visiting Ohio Northern to a 1-1 tie at Mount Union Stadium.

The Purple Raiders (6-4-1) were outshot 36-9, but were able to turn back the Polar Bear attack several times. Thomas Beck scored the game-tying goal in the 77th minute for the Purple Raiders. Beck, tied for the OAC lead in goals scored, was in the right place at the right time to tap the ball in after a shot by Jack Weber ricocheted off the goalkeeper.

Christian Huelsman gave Ohio Northern a 1-0 lead with his goal in the 63rd minute. With 6:31 remaining in regulation, Huelsman appeared to score the go-ahead goal, but he was called offside and the goal was disallowed. Jon Critell stopped 11 shots for the Purple Raiders. The line of defense in front of him aided him with six blocks in the final 25 minutes of the match. Mac Church saved four shots for Ohio Northern (8-2-2).

Mount Union returns to action when they travel to Marietta for an Ohio Athletic Conference match next Saturday. 

Late Kowalewski Goals Helps MU Beat Wilmington

WILMINGTON, OH - September 24, 2011 - Kevin Kowalewski scored in the 89th minute to give the Mount Union men's soccer team a 1-0 victory over Wilmington.

The Purple Raiders (6-4) snapped to their two-game losing streak to begin Ohio Athletic Conference play 1-0. With the match in a scoreless tie, the Purple Raiders seemed to be headed to their first overtime game of the season. At the 88:41mark, Kevin Cindric sent a cross into the box to Kowalewski, who beat the goalie for his first goal of the season. Jon Critell made six saves for Mount Union to record his fourth shutout of the season. Wilmington goalkeeper Antonio Trujillo recorded four saves for the Quakers.

Mount Union returns to action next Saturday for a showdown with Ohio Northern, ranked 13th in the nation.

MU Men Fall Again to PA Team

GROVE CITY, PA - September 20, 2011 - Shutout for the first time all season, the Mount Union men's soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision at Grove City (Pa.) in their final non-conference match of the season. The Purple Raiders (5-4-0) will enter conference play on a two-game skid. An uneventful first half ended with the Purple Raiders and Grove City (4-3-0) in a scoreless tie. Both teams were only able to get one shot on goal in the half.

As in their previous match, the Purple Raider defense lapsed shortly after halftime. In the 47th minute, Grove City's Richie Kocur entered a cross into the box and teammate Mike Shupp was able to head it into the net to put the Wolverines ahead. Jon Critell had three saves in goal for Mount Union. Grove City's Caleb Koch stopped the only shot on goal by Mount Union.

The Purple Raiders open Ohio Athletic Conference play on Saturday when they head to Wilmington. 

MU Men Fall to Point Park

ALLIANCE, OH - September 18, 2011 - The Mount Union men's soccer team fell to Point Park (Pa.) by a score of 2-1. This was the second match for the Purple Raiders (5-3-0) in as many days.

After a scoreless first half, three goals were scored in the opening nine minutes of the second half. Point Park's Matt Annecchiarico opened the scoring with a goal off a pass from Jack Pilkinton in the 48th minute. Thomas Beck scored the lone goal for Mount Union in the 53rd minute when he gathered a deflection off the keeper and buried it into the net. Beck has now scored a goal in four straight games. In the 54th minute, Alex Sala scored to give Point Park a 2-1 lead. Beck had an opportunity to tie the match in the 88th minute, but goalkeeper Mitchell Kelman made a great save to preserve the victory. Kelman made four saves for the Pioneers. Jon Critell saved two shots on goal for Mount Union.

The Purple Raiders will play their fourth straight match against a school from Pennsylvania when they travel to Grove City (Pa.) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

Beck Scores Another

ALLIANCE, OH - September 17, 2011 - Thomas Beck scored his seventh goal of the season as the Mount Union men's soccer team picked up a 2-1 victory over Washington & Jefferson. The Purple Raiders (5-2) have won both of their home matches this season.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr.Mount Union actually knocked fewer balls in goal than the visiting Presidents (2-3) despite winning on the scoreboard. The Purple Raiders got on the board first in the 29th minute when a cross by midfielder Chris Motley deflected off a Washington & Jefferson defender for a goal. The keeper stopped the ball mid-air just before crossing the goal line, but his momentum carried him across the line for the goal. Beck added a goal in the opening minutes of the second half off a giveaway by the defense to give the Purple Raiders a 2-0 lead. Goalkeeper Jon Critell made six saves in goal for Mount Union. Pete Tomlinson also made six saves for Washington & Jefferson. Ryan Suess scored their lone goal.

Mount Union returns to action tomorrow when they host Point Park (Pa.) at 1 p.m.  

MU Dominates Allegheny

ALLIANCE, OH - September 14, 2011 - The Mount Union men's soccer team defeated previously unbeaten and 24th-ranked Allegheny (Pa.), 3-0. Thomas Beck scored a pair of goals for the Purple Raiders (3-2) in the first half to help lead them to victory.

In the 9th minute, Beck took a pass from Chris Felker down the sideline, cut back to the middle, and buried the ball in the top of the net to give the Purple Raiders a 1-0 lead. Beck netted his second goal of the game shortly before halftime when he stole the ball from an Allegheny defender in the box and was able get his shot past the goalkeeper.

Chris Motley added the final score for Mount Union. After a shot by Beck, he was able to knock the ball free from the goalkeeper and into the net to seal the victory.

Jon Critell recorded the shutout for the Purple Raiders. He made six saves as Mount Union outshot Allegheny, 23-14.

The Gators had their best opportunity to score in in the 76th minute when Critell made a diving save of an Andrew Zimmer shot to the upper corner of the goal.

Allegheny (5-1) suffered their first loss of the season as goalkeeper John Lichina allowed three goals and made seven saves.

The Purple Raiders return to action Saturday, when they host the team that eliminated them from the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament last season, John Carroll at 1 pm. This will be both the first OAC game of the season for both teams.

Mount's Men Soccer Falls to Kenyon

SPRINGFIELD, OH - September 11, 2011 - Thomas Beck scored his fourth goal of the season, but it was not enough as the Mount Union men's soccer team dropped their second match in a row, 2-1 to Kenyon.

The match was delayed for nearly an hour in the first half due to lightning.

The Purple Raiders (3-2) trailed 1-0 when Beck netted his goal on a shot from the far side in the 34th minute.
With the score still tied the teams took cover after a streak of lightning with 4:13 remaining in the first half. The match was delayed for almost an hour before play resumed.

The match remained tied until Logan Konkol scored from 20 yards out in the 69th minute to give Kenyon (1-2-1) the lead.
A physical match from the onset, a total of six cards were given with five of them coming in the final 20 minutes of the match.

Jon Critell made two saves for Mount Union. Kenyon goalkeeper James Smith also made two saves for the Lords.
The Purple Raiders will play their next game against Wednesday against Allegheny (Pa.) at Mount Union Stadium.  This will be their first home match of the season.

Wittenberg Slip Past MU Men

SPRINGFIELD, OH - September 10, 2011 - Freshman Chris Motley scored his second goal of the season, but it was not enough as the Mount Union men's soccer team lost their first match at the Wittenberg Invitational. The Purple Raiders (3-1) fell to host Wittenberg, 2-1, for their first defeat of the season.

After falling behind, 2-0, Motley got the Purple Raiders on the scoreboard in the 38th minute. Phil Spagnolo sent a cross into the box that Motely was able to head into the back into the net. Unfortunately, that was the lone goal of the match for Mount Union.

Mount Union outshot Wittenberg (2-1), 11-7. Goalkeeper Jon Critell made three saves for the Purple Raiders.

Daniel Broidy and Stefan Latham scored goals for Wittenberg. Goalkeeper Michael Lambeck made six saves.

The Purple Raiders will play Kenyon tomorrow in their second match as part of the Wittenberg Invitational.

Good Start for MU Men's Soccer

NEW WILMINGTON, PA - September 7, 2011 - Freshman Chris Motley and sophomore Thomas Beck propelled the Mount Union men's soccer team to a 3-0 win on the road at Westminter (Pa.). The 3-0 start is the Purple Raiders' best since head coach John Witkowski took over the program in 2007.

After a scoreless first half, Motley scored in the 48th minute. Senior Kevin Cindric provided the assist on the play, his third of the season. The score remained 1-0 until the 68th minute when Beck was able to bury a shot in the back of the net. Motley and junior Leo Hicks contributed the assists on the goal. Beck added a goal for insurance in the 88th minute. Junior goalkeeper Jon Critell made four saves for his second shutout of the season and tenth of his career.

Adam Kephart made five saves for the Titans (1-1). The Purple Raiders complete their stretch of five games on the road to open the season when they participate in the Wittenberg Invitational this weekend. They will face host Wittenberg on Saturday and Kenyon on Sunday.

Soccer at a Football School

The University of Mount Union is best known for its American football team that has dominated the Division III landscape for many years. A closer look reveals a "sleeping giant" on the Mount campus, the men's soccer team. A trip to the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) playoffs last fall certainly raised expectations for the 2011 season as the Purple Raiders are viewed as one of the top contenders for the conference crown.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Jr.Mount Union has a unique blend of youth and experience that has yielded a tremendously talented squad. Five of the newcomers are expected to compete for starting spots on an already stacked team.

It all starts at the goalkeeper position as junior Jon Critell returns to find himself among the top keepers in all of Division III. Critell, who finished 2010 with 92 saves and a 1.25 GAA, will anchor the defense along with a veteran backline that includes 1 junior and 3 seniors.

"I think a lot of coaches would love to have a goalkeeper like Jonathan Critell," Head Coach John Witkowski stated. "He is so smart and athletic and I feel very comfortable with him in the back."

Captain Anthony Grenga will be looked to provide leadership from his center back position, while junior Leo Hicks will be the key player in the middle after starting 19 games last season and registering 2 goals and 8 assists.

Senior Kevin Cindric and sophmore Thomas Beck will provide a potent 1-2 scoring punch upfront. Beck was a freshman sensation last fall, tallying 7 goals and 2 assists. Cindric is sure to improve on his 4 assists from 2010.

Blue-chip recruit Christopher Motley looks to be a player that could have a big impact early. The Saint Vincent/St. Mary's grad is versatile and could find himself in the mix as an outside mid or a striker. Motley even cracked the starting lineup for a scrimmage against Carnegie Mellon.

"He has a nose for the goal and he is also a tough defender," Witkowski declared. "I expect him to win a lot of 50/50 balls and get good pressure on the ball."

Mount Union will open conference play against Wilmington on September 24th after 8 non-conference matches that begin with the Lycoming Kick Off Classic on September 3.

Rollercoaster Match for Mount Union and John Carroll

ALLIANCE, OH - November 3, 2010 - A hat trick by Mount Union’s Thomas Beck wasn’t enough to get the Purple Raiders past John Carroll on Tuesday night as Mount fell 5-4 on penalty kicks. John Carroll advanced to play at number one seeded Heidelberg on Thursday night.

The game certainly had a bit of everything: a freshman phenom scoring three goals, two legit pro prospects, acrobatic saves, a substitute scoring two goals, two overtime periods, and a set of PKs.

Not to mention a high level of intensity, a strong sense of urgency, and lots of physical play. There were an unbelievable 43 fouls committed and an equally ridiculous 46 shots.

Things started out well for the Purple Raiders, who were competing in their first OAC Tournament since 2003. Midfielder Leo Hicks, who finished the night with two assists, connected with Beck in the 27th minute to put Mount up 1-0. Beck would launch a header to the far post past John Carroll’s Carl Contrascier, giving the home squad a bit of momentum. Beck would get another opportunity in the 51st minute after fellow striker Dylan Walls was taken down in the box. A PK was awarded and Beck calmly converted to give Mount a 2-0 lead over the visitors.

Three minutes later John Carroll midfielder Kyle Buxman put the Blue Streaks on the board for the first time of the evening after collecting a rebound and depositing into the Mount Union goal past a helpless Jon Critell.

Contrascier would make the save of the night in the 59th, knocking down a shot from Mount’s Kevin Cindric with an acrobatic maneuver.

Substitute Kevin McKamish would put his own mark on the game in the 71st minute, getting the equalizer from 12 yards out. Buxman would get credit for the assist.

Beck would finish out his hat trick with a rocket from 30 yards out that made its way to the far post. It appeared that the Purple Raiders had this one in the bag, but McKamish came up with his second of the night to force the match into overtime.

Two overtime periods saw no change in the 3-3 scoreline. The match went into penalty kicks, where John Carroll came away victorious. One missed PK is all it took for Mount to lose and allow John Carroll to advance in the tournament.

While the Purple Raiders start thinking about the offseason, the Blue Streaks prepare for Heidelberg, who finished the regular season with an overall record of 13-3-2.

While disappointed, Mount Union Head Coach John Witkowski was pleased with the progress the program has made since his arrival. “I am very proud of the players for making the playoffs,” Wikowski declared. “We have a lot of players returning for next year so the future is looking bright.”

Mount Beats Otterbein to End Regular Season

ALLIANCE, OH - October 30, 2010 - Mount Union men’s soccer team (10-6-2) finished off the regular season with a 1-0 victory against Otterbein (3-14-2). 

Mount Union played to win despite having already clinched a berth in the OAC Tournament.

The Purple Raiders would be without star keeper Jon Critell, who was out with an ankle injury. Alex Bable, a freshman who landed a four- save shutout against Muskingum, would get the call in goal for the Purple Raiders.  Bable would have big shoes to fill, taking over for Critell who leads the squad with 87 saves.   

Mount Union was playing simply for pride, having already clinched a berth to the OAC tournament thanks to a 2-0 victory over Muskingum on Wednesday night.  This was quite an accomplishment for Mount Union Head Coach John Witkowski, leading a team that has not competed in this tournament since 2003. 

“The guys are really proud; you can see they are high spirited,” Mount Union Assistant Coach Casey Marks commented. “They are really looking forward to the playoffs.”

It was a rather slow start for both sides with Mount getting the first big opportunity in the 25th minute.  Junior Kevin Cindric set up Dylan Walls with what looked to be a sure goal, but the freshman striker finished with a shot high. Otterbein keeper Kyle Ripma would face a barrage of shots in the 39th, but Mount would emerge with no goals. All looked to be real scoring chances, but the Purple Raider attack failed to finish.      

Senior Matt McCain would find himself pushing forward in the waning moments of the first half, but the Otterbein defense closed in and blocked the shot. The end of the half would come with 0-0 on the scoreboard. The Purple Raiders would lead in shots (11) and corner kicks (4) in the first half, while the Cardinals led in saves (3).

Ripma and Otterbein would come under pressure just three minutes into the second half, facing several shots in succession.  Bable would face some threats of his own in the 56th, facing repeated shots by the advancing Cardinal offense.  No goals would be scored in either case, but there were definitely some opportunities.  

Mount Union would get on the board in the 68th minute with a score by Phil Spagnolo off a set piece.  The junior defender from Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania took advantage of a ball bouncing around the Otterbein goal and was able to slip one by the Cardinal keeper.

Cindric nearly got one through just moments earlier, forcing Ripma to make a difficult save. The rebound struck an Otterbein defender, putting the ball out of play.  Cindric would threaten again in the 76th, but the keeper was able to make the save.

The Purple Raiders were able to hold on to the 1-0 lead, sending Gerry D’Arcy’s squad home with yet another loss. The win provides Mount with the momentum needed to go into the OAC Tournament, which starts on Tuesday night when they face John Carroll University at Mount Union Stadium.

“We know what they are capable of; they know what we are capable of,” Marks continued. “There won’t be any surprises. We know what to expect.”

Critell, who will return for the John Carroll match, does understand the challenge that the postseason brings. “It is very hard to beat a team two times in a season. I think it will be good; I think we will be ready for every team that we have.”

Critell and Kosek Impress in Key OAC Matchup

ALLIANCE, OH - October 15, 2010 - Columbus Crew defender Shaun Francis was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft out of NAIA powerhouse Lindsey Wilson College (KY). The young Jamaican was considered to be a “diamond in the rough,” a project, a sleeper, a developmental player. Francis has turned out to be so much more, logging 903 minutes over 11 appearances, 9 of them starts.

Well we discovered a bit of hidden talent right here in our backyard in a matchup between John Carroll University and the University of Mount Union, two Division III teams that compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). Theoretically D-III teams should have even better talent than NAIA clubs.

The conference matchup between JCU and Mount ended in a 1-0 win for the hometown Purple Raiders, but more importantly showcased two of the best players in all of Divison III. Mount goalkeeper Jonathan Critell put in an exceptional performance, netting seven saves and a clean sheet in the process.

John Carroll’s attack, buoyed by the uptempo play of striker Jeff Kosek, pushed the Mount Union defense to the brink time after time. An unbelievable 18 shots, 7 of them on goal, showed the amount of opportunities produced by the visitors’ attack.

Both Critell and Kosek are legitimate pro prospects. Mount’s sophmore keeper could easily find himself on a USL or NASL roster in a few years. He is aggressive, going after loose balls and challenging attackers. Critell is also very vocal, directing the Mount defense from the box.

“You got to talk to everyone. You have to direct the game like a third or fourth coach out there,” the Cardinal Mooney grad commented. “You have to be aggressive; you have to go out and get it.”

Kosek leads the OAC in nearly every offensive category and has become one of the top strikers in D-III.

Kosek, the OAC’s leading scorer, has an outside chance of being selected in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Many scouts are impressed by his development as a player over a four-year collegiate career. He currently finds himself among the top scorers in all of Division III.

Kosek possesses a natural leadership ability; he sets the tone for the entire squad when he steps on the field. The senior forward has a muscular build and good size. He also has a good touch on the ball and deceptive speed. Most of all, Kosek plays with instinct and a knack for finishing scoring opportunities.

“Whatever it takes for us to win is what is important to me,” the Brecksville, Ohio native stated in a postgame interview. “I might score a couple of goals, be happy about it for a game, but the next game we have to come back out and win again.”

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights HS graduate showed all-around ability and was capable in defense or on the attack. “I try to stay physical and use every possible tool to my advantage,” Kosek continued. “Whether it is speed, strength, finishing, or leading the game.”

It certainly seems like this year’s draft surprise will come out of Division III or even the OAC.

Merlo Leads Mount Union to Victory over Marietta

ALLIANCE, OH - October 9, 2010 - Two goals from sophmore striker Joey Merlo helped the Mount Union Men’s Soccer team deliver a 3-0 win over Marietta. 

Marietta was no match for Mount Union as the Purple Raiders rolled to a 3-0 victory.

Mount dominated the game with quick offensive strikes and solid defensive play.  The first goal of the match came in the 20th minute as Kevin Cindric set up Merlo with a pass in the box.  Marietta keeper Chris Stollar couldn’t keep this one out despite ending the game with a respectable five saves.  Seven minutes later junior midfielder Kevin Kowalewski would get one of his own, beating Stollar off a rebound for the 2-0 lead.

Merlo would convert a PK moments later in the 28th, creating a 3-0 lead for the home team going into halftime.

Marietta’s defense seemed to settle down a bit in the second half.  The Purple Raiders were kept off the scoresheet as scoring opportunties seemed to dry up suddenly.   Mount would have 13 shots in the first half, but were limited to just five more in the second.  The visitors held the home team to 60+ minutes of scoreless play, but couldn’t deal with a 3-0 deficit that would last until the final whistle.

Marietta would finish the game with an advantage in saves (5) and corner kicks (5), but that didn’t translate into a clean sheet or goals.  They struggled to deal with the tactics and talent from John Wikowski’s squad.   

Marietta remains winless with a 0-10-3 record including a 0-3-0 start in OAC play, while Mount Union improves to 7-4-1 and a 2-1-0 record against OAC opponents.  Mount will look to build off of this success Wednesday as they welcome OAC foe John Carroll to town with a 7 pm kickoff.

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