MILWAUKEE – Freshman Rade Novakovich scored a goal and set up the game-winner to lead the MSOE men's soccer team to its fourth NACC Championship in five seasons with a 2-1 victory over Concordia Wisconsin in the semifinals Wednesday night at Viets Field.
The top-seeded Raiders (15-3) avenged its lone loss of the league season against the Falcons (11-7-1) and will now host No. 3 Dominican in the NACC Championship Saturday at 1 p.m. at Viets Field.
Novakovich opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a courageous individual effort. He battled a defender for a ball at the top of the box. After gaining possession, he had to fight free, then darted towards endline and slotted a shot far post from 10 yards out.
He was then the supplier for sophomore Joey Schauer just over four minutes later. He took a ball on the far side of the penalty area, then rolled a cross through the box to an onrushing Schauer. Schauer beat a defender and the keeper to the ball, one-timing a shot into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 in the 30th minute.
CUW would pull a goal back shortly thereafter after Zach Gyuricza was able to follow up his own shot with a rebound goal in the 34th minute. Freshman Ron Marchionna stormed off his line and made a tremendous save in space on Gyuricza's first attempt but was defenseless on the follow-up.
The visitors then ratcheted up the pressure in the second half to net an equalizer. The Raiders' defense bent but did not break in this time as junior Danny Bader cleared one shot off the line with a defensive header and the Falcons hit the post with back-to-back shots in the 56th and 59th minutes.
The Red & White defense fought valiantly down the stretch and repelled every Falcon advance until the final horn.
Marchionna finished with six saves as the Raiders withstood a 20-8 shot deficit in the match.
MSOE and Dominican will face-off for the NACC Championship for the fourth time in five seasons. The Raiders won 1-0 in 2014 and 3-1 in 2015. Last season, the Stars prevailed 2-1.