The 2012 Whitworth men’s soccer season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Mississippi College in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday evening at Trinity University.
The Pirates fell to 13-3-3 and it marks only the second time that Whitworth has not advanced past the first round in seven NCAA tournament appearances. Meanwhile the Choctaws improved to 13-5-2 in their first-ever NCAA tournament contest and move on to play the winner of the match between host Trinity and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
“I thought we played well and worked hard,” said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. “It was a good game by both teams and I believe we represented Whitworth and Whitworth soccer well.”
The only goal of the match came in the 53rd minute. Diego Ayala scored the winner on a double assist from Harrison Russell and Wesley Noble.
The Pirates pressured the MC net with several late shots, but could not get the ball into the goal.
Each team finished with nine shots and Whitworth had a slight 4-3 edge in shots on-goal. Robert Jackson made three saves in net for the Choctaws. Kyle Novak made two stops in his final matches as the Pirates’ netminder.
“We are very disappointed to lose, but that is the beauty of the game,” Bushey concluded. “To win is hard. You must earn it and sometimes when you may have earned it, you still may not get the rewards you desire. Yet you are continued to be called upon to give your very best. That is what we did.”
Whitworth will return 10 starters in 2013.