Rocky Mount, N.C. - For the first time since 2008, N.C. Wesleyan men's soccer is headed to the NCAAs! The Bishops earned an automatic bid to the national tourney with a 1-0 victory over Maryville College in the USA South Tournament Championship on Saturday at Scalf Field. With the lone goal of the title match, freshman Ignacio Lerech was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
A physical match from the start, Lerech broke through with the eventual gamewinner in the 35th minute, beating a trio of Scot defenders and blasting a 15-yard shot to the right of MVC keeper Ryan Jorgenson. The Bishops out-shot the Scots 7-5 in the opening half, only to see Maryville hold a 9-5 advantage in the second.
Maryville's last three shots provided for an exciting final 90 seconds. The first came off the foot of Johnny Rahkmonberdiev and was blocked just inches off the left post, resulting in a corner kick. Just seconds later inside of one minute, Andrew Sullivan headed a second corner toward an empty Bishop net after keeper Jordan Williams came off his line. NCWC's Walid Yacoubou, however, was there to clear the ball away and preserve Wesleyan's victory.
In addition to Lerech, five other Bishops were named to the All-Tournament team, including Williams who made four saves to secure his third shutout of the tourney. The entire 2017 All-Tournament team follows:
2017 All-Tournament Team
Forward – Carlos Barragan, Greensboro
Forward – Kobi Boompong, N.C. Wesleyan
Forward – Ignacio Lerech, N.C. Wesleyan - MVP
Midfield – Johnny Rahkmonberdiev, Maryville
Midfield – Cody VanKerschaever, Maryville
Midfield – Baboucarr Njie, N.C. Wesleyan
Defense – Matt Morefield, Covenant
Defense – Nate Long, Maryville
Defense – Joseph Brooks, N.C. Wesleyan
Defense - Walid Yacoubou, N.C. Wesleyan
Goalkeeper - Jordan Williams, N.C. Wesleyan
The 2017 crown marks the Bishops' third tournament title in program history and its first since 2008. Winners of 14 straight matches, Wesleyan will now await its NCAA opponent, location, and time. Stay tuned to www.ncwcsports.com for more information.