Final Four for the Vikings! North Park defeats St. Thomas 1-0
North Park University defeated the University of St. Thomas 1-0 in the final match of NPU's hosted NCAA Tournament Sectional. The victory gives the 12th-ranked Vikings their first ever trip to the Final Four in Division III Men's Soccer.
To begin the Elite Eight game, North Park wore out the opposition's side of the field as they sent shot after shot towards the keeper Aidan Hogan.
St. Thomas threatened to score twice within a minute as the Tommies nearly completed a successful header. The always strong Vikings defense was able to stifle the shot before any damage was done.
The Vikings responded just minutes later as Jason Gonzalez stole a pass on the St. Thomas side, maneuvered through two defenders, and sent a shot towards his opponent's goal. However, quick reaction from keeper Aidan Hogan redirected the ball and kept the score tied at zero.
In the 21st minute of play, a double-barreled attack courtesy of shots from Jason Gonzalez and Matias Warp. Yet, Hogan saved both of the Vikings' shots once again. Ten unanswered shots went towards the St. Thomas net before a hole was finally found.
The shutout broke when Jason Gonzalez found the hot foot of Shatil Khoury as he flicked a goal past the St Thomas goalie to mark the first goal of the game in the 30th minute of play. The bouncing ball was redirected on goal from the back heel of Khoury and a slight redirect off of a St. Thomas defender gave the Vikings the lead. This golden goal proved to be the difference in the match, as North Park's lock-down defense prevented the Tommies from scoring. The Vikings outshot the Tommies 20-9, and had a 10-6 advantage in shots on goal.
North Park University (20-1-1) continues to extend their winning streak, now at twenty straight games. They advance to the Final Four for the first time in program history and are set to face cross-town foe the University of Chicago in Greensboro, North Carolina on December 1st at 5:00 pm ET.