Men's Soccer, Sports

Men’s soccer advances to IIAC championship with win over No. 12 Luther

The No. 22 Wartburg men’s soccer team (12-3-4) defeated No. 12 Luther (16-3-1) 1-0 in the Iowa Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

It’s the second time Wartburg has beaten Luther this season.

The only goal of the game came in the 58th minute when Zubeen Azari took the ball off an assist from Dan Nadeau and shot it over top of the goalie, Tommy Breen, for the score.

“I think we played great,” Azari said. “We came out and knew it was going to be a good team. Everybody fought. I think we had one of our better games.”

Wartburg took 14 total shots, eight of which were on goal. Luther took eight shots total with only half on goal.

Wartburg’s Austin Boyke was responsible for the four saves to keep Luther from scoring.

“It was a good game against a very good team, and to beat them twice in a season is a very difficult task,” Wartburg head coach Kirk Artist said.

Both teams were physical with five total yellow cards handed out, four of which were given to Luther.

Video: Alyssa Kozak and Nathan Ford

The Knights now advance to the IIAC tournament championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday in Dubuque against No. 8 Loras.

“They got us during the regular season,” said Azari, referring to the Duhawks’ 3-1 victory. “It’d be great to beat them at (their) home and go to the national tournament.”

Loras is undefeated in conference play and 15-2-1 for the season. Loras won the regular season conference title this year, for the third year in a row.

Wartburg and Loras battled it out in the IIAC championship game last year in Dubuque and Wartburg fell 1-0 in OT.

A win Saturday would mean the first conference tournament win for Wartburg since 2009 when No. 3 seed Wartburg beat No. 1 seed Loras in Dubuque 2-1 in double-overtime.

The winner of this game will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

Artist’s advice to his players is simple.

“You’re only guaranteed one more game,” he said. “So you have to leave it all out there on the field.”

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