CHAMPIONS!!! Men’s Soccer Claim’s 20th National Title in School History
Evans, Ga. – The sting of loss from last year’s final has given way to jubilation following Lynn University’s 3-2 victory over Saginaw Valley State in the NCAA Division II Championship final, claiming the program’s fourth national title and the 20th in school history. Johnny Mertl and Yannick Braeuer scored first-half goals but it was Anthony Desperito’s goal with 20 minutes remaining that allowed the Fighting Knights to hoist the championship trophy.
Lynn finishes the season 19-3-1 overall. The Blue & White previously won national crowns in 2003, 1991 and 1987. Desperito was honored as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player while Jason Sangha earned Most Outstanding Defensive Player recognition. The duo was joined on the all-tournament team by James Aldred, Roberto Cadilhe, Julian Halder and Martin Wehlert.
Just as LU had done in the semifinals, it found the back of the net within moments of the opening whistle. The Fighting Knights took advantage of a corner kick from Jack Winter on the left flag as AB Magnusson was able to keep the initial header inside the six-yard box before Johnny Mertle headed home his first goal of the season.
Lynn dominated the pace of play for the remainder of the first half and headed to the locker room with a welcome surprise; a second goal. Saginaw Valley State (18-3-4) was pushed on its heels by Simon Gubisch, who drew a foul on the left wing. James Aldred bent-in the ensuing free kick and Braeuer was waiting on the right post for his fourth score.
The Fighting Knights kept up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded after the Cardinals moved forward in a trap position. Keeper Matt DiCerbo launched a drop kick into the midfield which Winter was able to head past the SVSU defense. NCAA Offensive Most Outstanding Player Anthony Desperito slipped by the back four and ripped a shot past a pulled out Jason Wise in goal for the eventual game-winner.
Ahead 3-0, the Cardinal made it a game with 22 minutes to play. Zach Walega scored after a defensive mishap to cut the deficit to two and Lachlan Savage headed in a cross from Zach Minor minutes later to keep things interesting.
But Mertl won a ball in the midfield and headed to the left corner, kicking off a celebration on the bench. As the clock struck 00:00, the Fighting Knights swarmed the field amidst all the fans that traveled from Boca Raton to celebrate the school’s 20th national championship.
Lynn out shot Saginaw Valley State 12-8 and held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
The Fighting Knights return 11 letterwinners for 2013 with an eye towards winning the program’s fifth title.