43ºF

Saginaw Valley men's soccer on to Round of 16

Saginaw Valley State teammates celebrate a goal during a game against Lewis University on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Braddock Field.
Saginaw Valley State teammates celebrate a goal during a game against Lewis University on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at Braddock Field. (Kelly Haapala)

The No. 3 seed Saginaw Valley State University (14-4-2) men's soccer team faces off against the 5th-ranked Quincy University today at 5pm ET in the NCAA Division II Midwest Final at Talequah, Oklahoma hosted by Northeastern State.

Saginaw Valley State has faced Quincy before in the 2012 NCAA tourney when they tied on November 11th of that year in a 1-1 draw. Head Coach Cale Wasserman is "excited for Oklahoma" and feels that "Quincy will be a very good rematch of the 2012 NCAA tourney."

View: 2014 NCAA Div. II men's soccer bracket

This will be the second trip to the round of 16 in three years for the Cardinals and is the first appearance for the Hawks. SVSU finished runner-up at the NCAA Div II Men's Soccer National Championships in 2012 where Coach Wasserman was also named NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and Zach Myers named Player of the Year.

This year's appearance for SVSU was not a given as the team they had to face in the Midwest Region Semifinal was Northwood, a team they were about to face last Sunday for the 4th time in 17 days.

Follow @KellyHaapala on Twitter for the latest college soccer news. 
View: ClickOnDetroit Soccer Section

The prior meetings this season resulted in 0-2-1 for the Cardinals. Northwood was also coming off winning the GLIAC Tournament Championship for the first time ever and was hosting the National match for the first time as well. This match however would start off on a different note than the previous ones due to the excessive snow on the pitch, delaying the start by 30 minutes.

Despite Northwood coming out in the 2nd minute with a goal, the Cardinals did not let that deter their motivation to change their history with Northwood this season. SVSU would do just that with a result of 5-2 against the Hawks which scoring began in the 39th minute with a PK from Junior Tyler Channell. A few seconds later, Senior Craig Neal took advantage of a rebound and slotted another one in. The score of 2-1 would be the result at halftime and it was still anyone's game.

The Cardinals came back in the 2nd half to dominate and make sure they had a place in the Midwest Finals by scoring another 3 goals within 8 minutes. The first in that half was in the 53rd minute when Aleksandar Isaevski found Junior Vaughn Frederick who took it past the goalkeeper and found the net. The SVSU Freshman Isaevski would again make things happen when five minutes later his corner kick found Senior Michael Lamb then headed it in.

The trio of Lamb, Neal and Isaevski also combine in the off season as part of the Detroit City FC NPSL team (formerly coached by Wasserman) and their solid teamwork has shown not only in today's game but also with the rest of their Cardinals throughout the season. Cardinal players Channell, Frederick and Neal were named to the 2014 GLIAC All-Tournament team.

The last scoring of the game for SVSU would be when Senior Craig Neal then scored two minutes later when he took advantage of a loose ball in front of the net and ensured the commanding win and his 9th goal of the season. The Timberwolves would continue to fight and scored another goal in the 64th minute but it would not be enough and the game would end 5-2.

Wasserman's team also had an honor of greatness along the way to Oklahoma when NFL and Lion's great Barry Sanders was on the flight with them and said "Go Cards" and took pictures with the squad. The Detroit Lions used to hold their training camp at the campus of SVSU so Sanders was already well aware of the University and it's great pride in athletics besides academics. It was a fun boost for the team and a great way to begin their trip to the NCAA Round of 16.

The winner of today's match will play on Sunday, November 23rd at 2pm against the winner of tonight's match when host Northeastern State faces Fort Hays State.