Crown College Has Historic Season, Wins UMAC Quarterfinal
Crown’s men’s soccer team completed a historic season, winning a dramatic quarterfinal game after a penalty kick shootout and finishing even (at 6-6) in their conference.
The team — which includes three players who rebounded after injuries last year — fought hard all season and ended up winning their first playoff game against the University of Minnesota – Morris on October 29. Storm Heyer, a senior, scored the game tying goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation to send the contest to overtime. Then, the team prevailed 4-2 in penalty kicks to punch their ticket to the next round.
In the next playoff game against the number one seeded University of Wisconsin – Superior on Halloween night, the team led 2-1 through 52 minutes before Superior rebounded to win the game 6-2.
“Five years ago, I first arrived to Crown,” says senior Ger Jones, a business major who also managed the campus store. “If I had told someone then the men’s soccer team would be that close to a UMAC championship appearance, they would not have believed me.”
The entire season was quite an uphill battle.
The team struggled to a 2-5 record to open the conference season, but rallied to win four of their final five regular season matches to clinch a playoff berth. That run included four shutouts, most notably at home against Martin Luther and Northwestern.
“I’m so proud of the team for overcoming a tough start to the year to reach their potential and make the playoff push we knew we were capable of making,” says Coach Luke Herbert. “The guys answered the bell every time and were phenomenal through the second half of the season.”
Herbert says a highlight of the season for him was how the players maintained their composure and integrity throughout, even when other teams got “chippy” on the field.
“I believe our coaching staff did an excellent job of disciplining our mindset and encouraging us to be better competitors on the pitch and off. I am proud of our accomplishments, I am proud of my teammates, and I am proud to have worn the Crown badge on my chest,” says Heyer, who scored three goals in the conference tournament, including a brace against Minnesota Morris.
“I want to thank all the fans this season that have travelled hours to watch us play, and have endured incredible temperature on both ends of the spectrum just to support us,” added Jones.
For men’s soccer, it’s onward and upward into next season.