It’s the first national sports title for Bulldogs
Kori Adams, Staff Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—–The Wingate men’s soccer team made history this Saturday night winning the Division II national championship. The top ranked Bulldogs were led by All-American Jon Ander who scored two goals to force Wingate to a 2-0 victory over the University of Charleston. Wingate finished the season 19-1 while the Golden Eagles fell to 19-3-2.
“It’s honestly the best feeling in the world…knowing that we are making this Wingate family proud,” Junior Mateo Correa says. Coach Hamill has worked so hard to get us all here and doing this for him makes it feel even better.”
Throughout the national tournament Wingate did not allow one goal. The Bulldog defense shut down the nation’s top ranked offense in the regional championship and the nation’s second ranked offense Saturday to win it all. Throughout the season the Golden Eagles averaged 20 shots per game, but the Bulldog’s defense held them down to a season low of eight. Damian Goana and Alex Nelson were a major part of Wingate’s strong defense.
Wingate imposed their offense in the last ten minutes of the first half when freshman, Oscar Perez assisted Ander who put it in the back of the net for the Bulldog’s first goal. Wingate Nate Evans and Christian Szalay each had an attempted goal during the first half to keep the pressure on.
Charleston tried to tie the game early in the second half when Felipe Antonio attempted to head the ball for a goal, but it was saved by Wingate All-American goalkeeper Pablo Jara. Ander scored once again later in the second half, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 final lead to capture the national championship for the first time in history.
“The whole way through we have had a lot of support from home and it has been absolutely fantastic,” says head coach Gary Hamill.
Ander, Jara, Szalay, Goana, and Nelson all were named to the All-Tournament Team. Ander received the Most Outstanding Offensive Player while teammate Nelson received the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The National Champions arrived back at Wingate University Sunday afternoon where a crowd of students welcomed them in celebration of the historical day.
Edited by: Sara Gunter