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Cardinals Advance to National Title Game with 3-1 Victory over No. 2 Simon Fraser

Cardinals Advance to National Title Game with 3-1 Victory over No. 2 Simon Fraser

EVANS, Ga. - The No. 12 Saginaw Valley State University men's soccer team defeated No. 2 Simon Fraser University (B.C.) 3-1 in the Semifinal Round of the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championships today (Nov. 29) in Evans, Ga.

The Cardinals came out aggressive and recorded some great scoring chances in the opening five minutes of play as they gained momentum early on.

Saginaw Valley (18-2-4) took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Zach Walega (Saline, Mich.) found the top right corner of the goal after a feed from Robert Short (Goodrich, Mich.) to beat the Simon Fraser (19-2-1) goalkeeper. The score was Walega's sixth of the season, while Short recorded his team-leading 11th assist on the year.

SVSU senior keeper Jason Wise (Troy, Mich.) kept the Cardinal edge in tact in the 25th minute as he made an impressive diving save to his right to keep Simon Fraser off the scoreboard. 

The Cardinals held a 4-1 shots on goal advantage through the first 45 minutes as they entered halftime with the 1-0 edge.

Saginaw Valley grabbed control of the contest at the 51:40 mark of the second half as Robert Short found Lachlan Savage (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Salem) with a pass into the box on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Savage went on to punch the ball past the Clan keeper for the 2-0 advantage.

The Cardinals pushed their advantage to 3-0 just four minutes later when Zach Myers (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern HS) fired a laser into the back of the net after streaking down the left side of the field. Sophomore Zack Cooney (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson HS) posted the assist on Myers' team-high 17th goal of the year.

Simon Fraser would jump on the scoreboard in the 59th minute to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Saginaw Valley showed its dominance on the defensive end the rest of the way for the 3-1 victory as they advance to the DII Championship match for the first time in school history.

The Clan outshot the Cardinals 15-7 for the game, but managed only five shots on goal for the entire contest.

Wise picked up his 18th win of the season as he played solid in net all afternoon, stopping four of the five Simon Fraser shots he faced.  The Cardinals have now extended their unbeaten streak to 14 straight contests.

SVSU will face No. 11 Lynn University in the National Championship game on Saturday (Dec. 1) at noon eastern.  Lynn was the 2011 National Runner-up.