A goal in the 98th minute dashed the Hope men's soccer team's dream of a Sweet 16 appearance as the Flying Dutchmen lost to Wartburg (Iowa) 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Flying Dutchmen finished with a 17-5-2 record after bowing out of the NCAA Division III Tournament in the second round.
"It's a tough one," sophomore goalie Ethan Beswick of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) said after making six saves. "Obviously we knew every 90 minutes we had to do everything we could and I can honestly say as a team tonight we did that. We didn't play a perfect game, obviously, and I think we've played better this year, but sometimes the balls bounce the way they do and that's what happens. We move forward from there."
Hope's 17 wins match the single-season school record from 2001, 2005 and 2002.
The Flying Dutchmen forced overtime when senior Jason Muller of Petoskey (Petoskey HS) scored an unassisted goal in the 77th minute. He struck 3 ½ minutes after Wartburg (17-4-2 overall) grabbed a 1-0 lead.
"I would love for championship games to not be decided in a setting like this, but that's the way it goes. We're used to it," Hope coach Steven Smith said. "Mostly when it comes down to championship games like this, it's heart. Tactics might not have been the best, but it's hard to have tactics in a setting like this. It's just a matter of heart and drive. So I think that's what they did best, is they laid their hearts out on the field.
"I love them. I absolutely love their effort. I love their hearts. I love the fact four seniors continuously put the team on their backs and refuse to lose and they dug in. I told them I absolutely loved them with all my heart."