GREENSBORO, NC (December 4, 2017) – The magical season of The North Park University men’s soccer team ended Saturday when the Vikings fell just short of capturing the Division III National Title, falling to Messiah College, 2-1.
The trip to the finals was the first-ever for the Vikings, who finished 19-3-2. Messiah (24-2-0) won the tournament for the eleventh time since 2000.
The Vikings took the lead in the first minute of the game when Shatil Khoury slipped a pass to Gustav Ericsson, who then blasted it beyond the reach of Messiah’s goalkeeper.
Messiah wasted no time answering, however, as the Falcons tied it just three minutes later on a header by defender Justin Brautigam. With 33 seconds left in the half, the first goal of the season by forward Ben Haines proved to be the difference maker.
Although they were dominated offensively in the second half, the Vikings came close to tying the Falcons (24-2-0) in the final minutes on a flurry of shots.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys. I’m extremely proud of how hard they worked,” North Park coach John Born said in his press conference. “Until that clock read zero, I was expecting us to put the equalizer in. Just didn’t happen. It’s a tough game.”
Their decorated season included a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Championship, CCIW Tournament Championship, victories all the way to the NCAA Championship game, seven All-CCIW picks (including Newcomer and Player of the Year), four All-Region picks, a First Team All American selection, and a plethora of awards for Head Coach John Born: Regional Coach of the Year and CCIW Coach of the Year. Topping it all off, three Vikings were selected to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team: Ricky Pimentel, Gustav Ericsson, and Mathias Stulen.