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Hastings Wins First Menís Soccer Title since 2010

December 03, 2016

By Donnie Smith, NAIA Media Coordinator

DELRAY Beach, Fla. – The top seed in the 2016 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship won the second championship in program history, winning a third-straight one-goal game.


Eric Birighitti fed a ball ahead from the midfield onto the toes of Lucas Venegas in the 57th minute, who sent the ball into the net to give Hastings a 1-0 win over second-seeded Rio Grande (Ohio).

“We knew Rio was a tremendous team and we’d have to absorb some pressure from them,” said head coach Aaron Champenoy.

The title is the second for Hastings, and the first since 2010.

“It’s been a tremendous experience, these guys accepted a coaching change, bought into what we were trying to do, and gave me everything they had every day,” said Champenoy. “I told our team at the beginning of the season, ‘as long as you stay blue-collar and work hard every day, we’ll have a chance to go out and compete with anyone in the country.”

The Broncos recorded just two shots on goal during the contest. Rio Grande recorded four shots on goal, and 11 total attempts.

The best scoring chance for the RedStorm came in the 74th minute when Jeremy de Hoog took a free kick from 35 yards out that went just over the crossbar.

Neither team generated many opportunities in the first half, with the lone shot on goal belonging to the RedStorm. Hastings had a chance with Daniel Whitehall in the box in the 16th minute, but the play was blown offsides.

The Broncos played in seven one-goal games this season, including the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final in the national championship.

“We decided early on in the year we were going to make defense a priority and catch people on the break and grind out games,” said Champenoy.

Hastings becomes the first unbeaten national champion since Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in 2011. This marks fourth consecutive year the championship game has been decided by one goal.


The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Keiser University (Fla.) served as co-hosts for the third-straight year.

2016 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship All-Tournament Team
Goalkeepers
Benjamin Martinez, Rio Grande
Joe White, Hastings

Forwards
Daniel Whitehall, Hastings
TJ Ifaturoti, Davenport
Pau Delgado, Rio Grande
Danton Irelan, Grand View

Midfielders
Tor Trosten, Hastings
Sam Blackman, Grand View
Tyler Collishaw, Davenport
Prince Idornigie,West Virginia Tech

Defenders
Jorge Guinovart, Rio Grande
Cori Hill, Grand View
Erik Tello, Hastings
Matt Redgrave, William Carey

National Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Daniel Whitehall, Hastings

National Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Jorge Guinovart, Rio Grande

National Championship Most Valuable Player
Joe White, Hastings

Nels Dahlquist Memorial Team Sportsmanship Award
Grand View (Iowa)