Men’s Soccer Advanced to CCIW Tournament
Carthage College men’s soccer (18-3, 8-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) made history before the start of the CCIW Tournament, earning the season title for the first time since 2011. However, in order to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament, the Red Men needed to defend their CCIW tournament title.
“All of this is difficult to achieve. Everyone in the league is talented, so you need depth, hard-workers, some real luck, and a tremendous level of want; this group has that,” said Head Coach Steve Domin.
As the No. 1 seed, the Red Men advanced to the championship match, defeating Illinois Wesleyan University 3-1 in the semi-finals. Three days later, Carthage outplayed Wheaton College 2-1, thereby becoming backto-back tournament champions.
“The wins that we have gotten and being a ranked team puts a bullseye on our back. Every team comes out and gives us their best game because they know who we are,” said Assistant Coach C.J. Bachmann
The balance of offensive and defensive skill paid off for the Red Men, with goalkeeper Bryan Arce Justiniano, ’20, earning a cumulative of 10 saves; Carthage outshot their opponents 25-23 in the tournament.
“We have had a lot of depth throughout the year. Our mentality is when one guy goes down, another guy has a chance to perform,” said center forward Austin Bitta, ’17.
Going into the NCAA tournament, Carthage ranks 2 in the NSCAA Central Region and 11 nationally.
“A long-term goal would be to win the national tournament. I hope that continuing our win streak, we maintain strong performances and keep up with the competition throughout NCs,” said center back Giles Phillips, ’19.
Following the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 8, the Red Men will host Benedictine University of Illinois in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Art Keller Field. Should Carthage win, they will play against either UW-Whitewater or Hanover College on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m
“In the end, all the games are just fun, extra and about passion. There is still the same importance and prep work, but also a chance to add to another historic season,” said Domin.