Season Review: Men's Soccer caps off record breaking season with run to NCAA III Tournament Championship

Season Review: Men's Soccer caps off record breaking season with run to NCAA III Tournament Championship

By: Andrew Korba

The 2012 Ohio Northern men's soccer season will go down as the most memorable in the program's history.

The Polar Bears captured their second straight OAC Regular Season Championship and third consecutive OAC Tournament Championship. In addition, the squad made their fifth consecutive NCAA III Tournament appearance and advanced all the way to the NCAA III Tournament Championship for the first time in program history.

ONU finished the season with a school record 25 wins and also completed a undefeated OAC Regular Season going 9-0-0.

Northern began their season by winning the Herb Lauffer Memorial Championship hosted by Penn State Behrend.

After two more victories, ONU was dealt their first loss to No. 13 Carnegie Mellon. The Polar Bears responded with two more wins before suffering another defeat at No. 21 Ohio Wesleyan. They would not lose another game for over two months, winning a school record 18 matches in a row.

During that streak, Northern dominated their OAC competition, outscoring their opponents 26-1 and not giving up a goal in an amazing 700 minutes and 25 seconds.

The Polar Bears earned the top seed in the OAC Tournament and defeated Heidelberg. Northern then got an amazing bicycle kick goal from senior Chris Matejka to knock off John Carroll for the OAC Tournament title.

ONU was then placed at Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) for the first two rounds of the NCAA III Tournament against two familiar opponents. The Polar Bears topped Thomas More (Ky.) for the second time on the year by a 1-0 score. Northern then got revenge from their loss earlier in the season by defeating No. 6 Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) 3-1.

Northern then moved on to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season and dominated No. 10 Susquehanna (Pa.) 4-1. In the Elite Eight, ONU won a thrilling 2-1 contest over Montclair State (N.J.) on a goal in the 82nd minute from senior Cameron Johnson. The win punched a ticket to the program's first ever appearance in the Final Four.

The Polar Bears faced off against No. 7 Williams (Mass.) in the Final Four and hung on for a 3-2 win to advance to the NCAA III Tournament Championship. Northern's season would come up short as ONU fell to No. 1 Messiah (Pa.) in the NCAA III Tournament Championship.

The team set numerous records throughout the season, recording a school record 86 goals, 251 points and 15 shutouts.

Individually, freshman Keegan Ross tied the school record for goals in a season with 22, while senior Nate Bascom broke the single season record for assists with 18 and points with 54.

ONU won numerous awards for their record breaking season. Seniors Austin Windsor, Mac Church and Bascom were all named NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Americans. In addition, Bascom was named Forward of the Year and was selected to the All-American team with Matejka.

The Polar Bears has seven players named All-OAC and also swept the OAC Special awards. Bascom won Forward of the Year, Matejka earned the Midfielder of the Year, Windsor garnered in the Defender of the Year, Church won Goalkeeper of the Year and head coach Brent Ridenour was named Coach of the Year.

Ridenour also was named Ohio Coach of the Year and NSCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.

Northern also had success in the classroom. Bascom was named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. Also, junior Matt Fleming won the NCAA Elite 89 Award at the Final Four. ONU also had eight players named Academic All-OAC and five named Academic All-Ohio.