Faced with extreme weather and field conditions, including single-digit temps, the top-rated Viking men's soccer team dug deep to pull off a 4-3 NAIA Championship Opening Round win today in Des Moines.
The Vikings were on the board first and early in the contest. Senior Ryan McGowan (Ames, Iowa) finished off a corner kick from senior Jonny Macadam (Glasgow, Scotland) to put GV up 1-0 in the 13th minute.
The Bruins answered just minutes later in the 17th minute with Manuel Lira taking the feed from Leigh Veidman and getting it past GV keeper Erik Hundevad to tie the game at 1-all.
Junior Aaron Scott (Dunbar, Scotland) put the Vikings back in front in the 26th minute, placing one past Bellevue's keeper, Ben Martin, on a free kick from 30 yards out.
Veidman scored in the 42nd minute to even up the score at 2-2 and the teams were tied at the break.
Bellevue struck first in the second half. Lira scored his second goal of the game to put the Bruins back out in front in the 55th minute. Bellevue held Grand View scoreless for the next 30 minutes gave the Vikings a sense of urgency as they approached the final six minutes of play down 3-2.
Junior Brian Lee (Glasgow, Scotland) took a chested ball from defender David Macsicza (Dunajska Luzna, Slovakia) and found the back of the net in the 84th minute for the equalizer. The go-ahead and game winner came just two minutes later on a header into the far corner of the goal by junior Matthew Kenton (East Sussex, England) who was served a long ball from senior Gustavo De Souza (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
"A great tournament match tonight. Both squads battled for the win. Bellevue left it on the pitch last night as did our boys. The game field was a challenge, covered in a layer of snow with temps dropping to the single digits. Our boys rose to the challenge to tie the match and get the eventual winner in the last five minutes or so. This group of players never gives up. I am proud of the determination and character they exemplify. I could not be happier for Matthew Kenton who got the winner. He has battled four knee surgeries and shows up everyday to push himself and the squad. It was only fitting that he nodded in the winner from Gustavo's beautifully weighted cross. A total team effort!!," said head coach Blair Reid.
Grand View (19-2) advances to the NAIA Championship final site in Montgomery, Alabama. The Vikings will next face No. 16 seed Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Martin Methodist (15-3-1) advanced with a 2-0 opening round win over Bryan (Tenn.)
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