By: Andrew Korba
PITTSBURGH (Pa.)--Senior goalie Mac Church recorded his school record 15th shutout of the season to lead the No. 5-ranked Ohio Northern men's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Thomas More (Ky.) in the First Round of the NCAA III Tournament Saturday evening at the CMU Soccer Field.
The Polar Bears now stand at 21-2-0 on the season, while the Saints wrap up their season at 13-4-4.
ONU advances to the second round where it will play No. 6 Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) at 5 pm on Sunday.
Church made five saves on the night for the school record 47th shutout of his career.
"Mac was outstanding tonight," said head coach Brent Ridenour. "We had a couple of breakdowns on defense and Mac was ready and saved us."
Northern had a chance to score early on, but freshman Keegan Ross fired a shot that went just wide.
Junior Jeremy Barnes put the Polar Bears on the board in the 10th minute when beat the goalie to the lower right.
Ross and senior Cameron Johnson picked up the assists on the play.
Ross had another chance in the 19th minute when he rocketed a shot, but it was saved by Saints goalie Matt Kees.
In the 33rd minute, senior Chris Matejka took a shot that hit off of the left post.
Senior Cameron Johnson had a chance to score in the 41st minute when he rocketed a shot high and to the right.
The Polar Bears had another opportunity in the last minute of the first half when senior Austin Windsor sent a free kick into the and over the goalie's head.
Johnson gained control of the loose ball, but his shot went high.
Neither team could get much going to begin the second half.
Senior Nate Bascom attempted to head a shot off of a corner kick in the 56th minute, but it was saved.
Thomas More had another chance in the 60th minute when Jake Plummer fired a shot, but Church made a nice diving save.
The Saints would continue to pressure and again fire a shot that Church saved in the 72nd minute.
Bascom countered with a shot of his own in the next minute, but his shot was saved as well.
Thomas More appeared to get on the board in the 82nd minute, but an offsides call disallowed the goal off of a corner kick.
The Polar Bears were able to run out the last minutes of the clock, never letting Thomas More get off a shot.
"I was very happy for us to grab the early lead," Ridenour added. "Thomas More came to play and had some looks, but we did a good job limiting their opportunities."
Both teams registered five shots on goal, but ONU held the edge in overall shots by a 13-9 margin.
This will be the second time that Ohio Northern will play Carnegie Mellon this season. The teams last played on September 8, with the Tartans walking away with a 3-2 win.