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Men's Soccer - Sun, Oct. 31, 2010

La Crosse, Wis. - Viterbo University faced St. Ambrose University in the Midwest Collegiate Conference quarterfinal tournament game, who Viterbo had previously beaten in normal conference play. Like the first meeting of the season, these two teams would battle until the very end as the game ended in a 3-3 tie in double overtime. Viterbo would then advance to the MCC semifinals by defeating St. Ambrose 4-2 in a shootout.

The V-Hawks would fall behind in the seventh minute when St. Ambrose counter attacked swiftly after Viterbo yielded possession in midfield. Matt Kracium applied an exquisite finish from the edge of the box which left Luke Newton helpless. Viterbo went in search of a reply and could have arguably gone two goals up. Tony Madigan's (Jr. - Dane, Wis.) cross found Jake Wenzel (So. - Stoughton, Wis.) at the back post but he failed to finish from close range. Wenzel would receive a second chance only minutes later from Teague Mitchell's (Jr. - Stillwater, Minn.) cross, but his header went over the cross bar. Jamie Robertson (Sr. - Langho, England) skillfully bypassed the St. Ambrose full back and cut the ball back into the path of Scott Henderson (Fr. - Dundee, Scotland), but an unfortunate bounce made the shot difficult for Henderson and he failed to get it on target. Viterbo's back line proved a tough test for Ambrose and Viterbo may have felt hard done by; trailing the game at half time 1-0.

Viterbo had forty five minutes to ensure their season didn't come to a premature end and it took only six minutes for them to rectify the situation. A quick free kick by Henderson allowed Robertson to turn in the box and forced the St. Ambrose player to commit a foul. Robertson finished the penalty with ease to maintain his record as Viterbo's top goal scorer this season. Viterbo would have a second penalty claim turned down when Adam Porteous (Sr. - Wilmslow, England) jinxed his way into the box, but Viterbo would still take the lead minutes later.

Porteous and Robertson linked up well down the left and Robertson's well timed acrobatic flick fell into the path of Chris Bagshaw (Jr. - Winona, Minn.). Bagshaw applied a crisp one touch finish to claim his first goal of the season. Viterbo nearly extended their lead when Porteous's volley narrowly dipped just over the crossbar. Viterbo would unfortunately surrender their lead when an innocuous own goal was scored defending a free kick. St. Ambrose managed to take the lead when they received a penalty for a handball in the box. Luke Newton (Fr. - Richmond, England) nearly saved the penalty but there was too much power on the shot. There was only ten minutes left of normal time for Viterbo to claw back a goal. It only took Viterbo one minute to find their reply. Gregg Ryder's (Sr. - Newcastle, England) cross tempted the St. Ambrose keeper from his goal and Wenzel managed to get a head on goal to see the full time score finish 3-3.

Overtime was another end to end affair for both sides, with the tie hanging in the balance on more than one occasion. Madigan headed in to the top corner from Porteous's cross but an acrobatic save form the goalkeeper kept the game level. Viterbo nearly converted from a corner also but the first half of overtime finished 3-3. St. Ambrose began to pile on the pressure in the second overtime. One particular attack ended with the ball cannoning of the crossbar and the subsequent rebound being converted, yet the offside flag was raised and the goal didn't stand. Newton kept Viterbo in the game with an exceptional save from a free kick.

The game went to penalties and Newton would be dubbed as the hero of the occasion. He saved both of St.Ambrose's first two penalties and Brian Palm (So. - Sparta, Wis.) converted the final penalty for Viterbo in a 4-2 penalty shootout win.

The tie moves Viterbo to 8-9-1 on the season while St. Ambrose finishes the 2010 season 6-11-3. Viterbo advances to the MCC semifinal for the third straight season and will face #1 Grand View University next Sunday. Game time is scheduled for 2:00 pm.

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