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Cardinals Finish Runner-Up at NCAA Division II Men's Soccer National Championships

Cardinals Finish Runner-Up at NCAA Division II Men's Soccer National Championships

EVANS, Ga. - The No. 12 Saginaw Valley State University men's soccer team finished their historic season as the 2012 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer National Runner-Up. The Cardinals dropped the national title match by a 3-2 score against No. 11 Lynn University (20-2-1).

Lynn broke the tension just two minutes into the highly-anticipated title matchup when Johnny Mertl headed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 edge.

The Cardinals gained momentum throughout the middle portions of the first half, but were unable to capitalize on their potential scoring opportunities.

The Fighting Knights struck again at the 40:19 mark of the first half on another header, this time from Yannick Braeuer to give Lynn the 2-0 advantage heading into the halftime break.

Lynn extended their lead to 3-0 in the 67th minute on a deep pass that beat the Cardinal keeper.

Saginaw Valley jumped on the scoreboard with a goal off the foot of Zach Walega (Saline, Mich.) who split two Lynn defenders and chipped the ball over the head of the Lynn keeper to cut the deficit to 3-1 with 12 minutes left in regulation. Walega's unassisted goal was his seventh of the season.

SVSU trimmed the Lynn advantage to 3-2 with about seven minutes to go as Zack Minor (Hartland, Mich.) made a great pass into the box as he found a streaking Lachlan Savage (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Salem) who pounded the ball into the back of the net. The tally for Savage was his 12th of the year, which is second best on the team behind Myers (17).

Saginaw Valley put even more last-second pressure on the Fighting Knights, but were unable to capitalize in the end as Lynn came away with the 3-2 victory.

SVSU finished the 2012 season with a record of 18-3-4 which included a 14-game unbeaten streak that saw the Cardinals go 11-0-3 in the months of October and November and ended in the national title match. The Saginaw Valley defensive unit also posted a nine-game shutout streak against Division II opponents that extended into the postseason.

The Cardinals claimed their second consecutive GLIAC Men's Soccer Championship this season as well as their first ever GLIAC Men's Soccer Tournament Championship. Senior forward Zach Myers (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern HS) was named GLIAC "Offensive Player of the Year," while head coach Cale Wassermann was tabbed as GLIAC "Coach of the Year" for the second straight season. Myers was named to the Capital One Academic All-America team as well as Daktronic Inc. Third Team All-American. 

Six other Cardinals joined Myers on All-GLIAC teams. Lachlan Savage and Jason Wise (Troy, Mich.) were selected to the first team, while forward Zach Walega and defenders Taylor Clarke (Cary, Ill. / Cary-Grove HS) and Michael Lamb (Sunderland, England/Sandhill View) garnered second team honors. Sophmore midfielder Zach Vasold (Freeland, Mich.) was also named to the honorable mention team.

Congratulations to head coach Cale Wassermann and the members of the SVSU men's soccer program on their historic season!

NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Tournament Bracket