For the second year in a row and third time in the last four years, the Rockhurst University men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinal matches. Only this time it was practically in the Hawks’ back yard at Swope Park Village.
The Hawks had everything they wanted, including a raucous group of blue-clad students in the stands, with hopes of reaching the title match for the first time in program history.
Except for the win.
The University of Charleston (West Virginia) spoiled the Hawks’ run with a 2-1 victory to advance to the Saturday title match against Wingate (South Carolina). Rockhurst finished the season with a record of 18-3-3.
“This year we were supposed to be here and I think everybody felt this was our year,” said senior Mitch Moncada who scored the Hawks’ only goal. “It’s a surprise, but anything can happen at this point.”
After the goal by Moncada, a senior from Springfield Catholic HS, stood up at halftime and gave the Hawks their first-ever lead in a national semi, the Golden Eagles scored both of their goals within the first ten minutes of the second half.
The sun was close to setting in the opening minutes of the second half. “The sun was definitely a huge issue for those first five minutes,” said Hawks defender Evan Craig, also a senior from Springfield Catholic. “That’s what it came down to, us not playing the way we should have been.”
Other than the sun issues, Hawks coach Tony Tocco praised the field conditions.
“This the best field we’ve played on. Ever. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal venue.”
Greg Echlin is a sports reporter for KCUR 89.3. Reach him on Twitter @GregEchlin.