PHILIPPI, W.Va. — The Fort Hays State University men’s soccer team ended its eason with a heartbreaking loss after allowing the game-winning goal to Northeastern State in the final minute of regulation to fall to the RiverHawks 2-1 in the Central Region Final on Thursday. The Tigers ended the year at 11-6-2. Northeastern State took the season series two games to one and now leads the all-time series 7-6-5 in the six years between the teams.
The first half was a defensive battle as the two teams used their scouting reports to their advantage as both teams won on their home pitch in the previous two matches. However, this time it was as neutral as one could get with the Central Region Final on the home field of Alderson Broaddus University.
The teams could not take advantage of the limited scoring opportunities as the first 45 minutes ended with no score. The Tigers were outshot by the RiverHawks 6-4 in the first period.
The RiverHawks benefitted from a free kick opportunity as Joe Garcia found the back of the net from 20 yards out after beating Tiger goalkeeper Michael Yantz over his head and to his right. Northeastern State led 1-0 in the 47th minute of the match.
Abdoulaye Cisse netted the equalizer in the 67th minute of the match to make it a 1-1 ball game. Raul Fierro set Cisse up for his ninth goal of the season and Fierro picked up his third assist of the year. Both teams were getting a little chippy at this point in the match as each team received at least 15 fouls on the night.
Northeastern State was able to slip past the Tiger defense in the final minute as Jacob Weaver scored the game-winning goal with 41 seconds remaining in the match. The Tigers were unable to get another shot off and time expired.
Yantz took the loss in goal for the Tigers as his record dipped to 8-5-2 on the season. Yantz ends his time with the Tiger soccer program as the leader in victories in a career as a goalkeeper (29), the most shutouts in a career (14), the most goalkeeper matches started and played in (50) and the second most saves in a career with 180.
Senior Derick Gonzalez’s streak of 15 consecutive matches with a point was snapped after the RiverHawks were double and triple covering him most the evening as none of his teammates were able to give him a good look. Gonzalez career at Fort Hays State ended with a bitter loss to a familiar foe; however he lead the team in goals scored (10), assists (14), points (34), shots (48) and tied Cisse with three game-winning goals on the season. Gonzalez also owns the program record for most assists in a single season with 14 and ranks second in total points in a season in school history with 34, just one point behind Ricardo Yeverino who tallied 35 in 2011.
Killian Gorman completed his senior campaign by leading the Tigers in minutes played on the pitch this year with 1,627 total minutes as a rock on the Tiger defense. Gorman amassed a total of 5,311 minutes played on the soccer field in his career as a Tiger.