Wolves Finish 3rd in USCAA Tourney

National tournament successful for men's soccer team

By: Becky St. Clair

The team displays their 3rd place plaque after the championship game on Friday.

Hours of practice and good teamwork paid off this year when WWU’s men’s soccer team was invited to play in the United States Collegiate Athletics Association (USCAA) tournament. The event began Wednesday, October 31, in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

The tournament was originally scheduled to take place November 1-3, which placed some games on Saturday, the day WWU observes as its Sabbath. As two sister institutions, Andrews University and Columbia Union College, were also playing in the tournament, the USCAA began arrangements for Saturday games to take place after sundown.

Unfortunately, the organization could not secure lighted fields for play on Saturday evening, so to accommodate the 3 Sabbath-keeping institutions in the tournament, the USCAA rescheduled the event to begin October 31 and end November 2, avoiding scheduled games on Saturday.

The Wolves’ tournament opening game went well, as they beat Robert Morris Springfield 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon. Philly Chikapa, Isaac Lopez, and Tim Lo were key players for the Wolves in this match. Chikapa scored two goals, Lopez the third. Lo, the Wolves’ goalkeeper, recorded eight saves.

The team played well on Thursday, but they fell to eventual champions Robert Morris Lake County 5-1.

“They were the hardest team we’ve played all year,” says WWU Athletics Director Tim Windemuth. “They’re a good team, and they played an outstanding game.”

In spite of their loss in the second game, the Wolves went on to the final round, where they competed with Concordia College for third or fourth place.

Greg Dammaso brought the team from behind 1-0, scoring a goal just before halftime. Phil Lychykua and Taj Loi Cunningham scored the final 2 winning goals, bringing the team to a 3-1 victory over Concordia.

Winning soccer matches was not the only accomplishment the Wolves made during the tournament. Lo and midfielder Jorge Fernandez were both named to the all-tournament team, while Dominique Hunt earned honorable mention All-American and Academic All-American honors. Fernandez and Chikapa were also given honorable mention All-American awards, and Ruben Franco received the Academic All-American award.

“This is one of the highest finishes we’ve ever had in a national championship,” says Windemuth. “I was very proud of the sportsmanship and athleticism of our team. Our coaching staff did an excellent job providing positive leadership.”

Windemuth also expressed sincere gratitude to those who supported the team and helped them get to the tournament.

The Wolves finished the year with a final record of 11 wins, 9 losses.

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