November 17, 2013

MAKING HISTORY: Rose-Hulman Upsets #1 Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio -- With Mike Smyser's goal in the first five minutes of play and an urelenting defensive effort, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's soccer team pulled off the biggest upset in program history with Saturday's 1-0 win over No. 1 and previously undefeated Ohio Wesleyan in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. 

Rose-Hulman (12-5-5) will travel to Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa., for the NCAA sectional round.  The Sweet Sixteen matchup features Rose-Hulman against No. 19 Franklin & Marshall (16-3-2) on Sat., Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.  The winner of Rose-Hulman/Franklin & Marshall returns to face either Kenyon or Messiah on Sun., Nov. 24 at 5 p.m.

Smyser (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hill Northern) scored the match's lone goal in just the 5th minute of play, taking a cross from the left from Ben Green (Frisco, Texas/Centennial) to the top right of the box. Smyser made one move and found the lower left corner to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead that would hold until halftime. 

Ohio Wesleyan (19-1-3) controlled much of the first half after the score, as the Bishops outshot Rose-Hulman by a 23-4 margin. Engineers junior keeper Drew Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Bishop Fenwick) tallied all of his three saves in the first half to help his squad keep the lead.

With the wind at the their backs in the second half, the Engineers' back line of Andrew Bartush (Granger, Ind./Penn), Spencer Johnson (Yorkville, Ill./Aurora Christian), Nick Kowalkowski (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way) and Max Brown (Atlanta, Ga./Chamblee Charter) held strong despite a barrage of crosses and shots from the Bishops in the final minutes. 

Rose-Hulman advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in men's soccer program history with Thursday's match against Penn State Behrend, when the teams battled to a 0-0 draw before the Engineers advanced 9-8 in the penaly kick round. Saturday's victory marks another first, as the Engineers head to the NCAA's Sweet 16.

HISTORICAL NOTES:

* This marks the third time in school history that a Rose-Hulman athletic team in any sport has advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 (men's basketball in 1977 (elite eight) and 1982 (sweet 16)).

* It's the first time in school history that a Rose-Hulman athletic team defeated the No. 1-ranked team in the NCAA Tournament and only the second time any Engineers squad beat a top-ranked team, the last in 1998, when men's basketball upset Illinois Wesleyan. 

* The men's soccer team has become the third team in Fightin' Engineer athletic history to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, joining baseball and men's basketball.

* Rose-Hulman has tallied a school record 13 shutouts this season.  It's a cliche that defense wins big games... Rose-Hulman recorded its fifth straight shutout, has only allowed two goals in its last 11 matches and has not allowed a goal since Oct. 30.