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Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Wins First Men's Soccer National Championship

December 07, 2013

By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — With 16 games requiring overtime, including the National Championship final, the 2013 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship certainly had a flair for the dramatic. In the title bout, Martin Methodist (Tenn.) captured it first-ever National Championship—in any men’s sport—with a 2-1 victory over Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) in overtime.

In the 98th minute, Martin Methodist’s Jonathan Remond sent a Kenneth Monge feed past Auburn Montgomery keeper Phillip Hitpass for the golden-goal, with 2:36 remaining in overtime, giving the RedHawks their first National Championship title in just their second National Championship appearance. The RedHawks were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2009 National Championship. 

Sean Dong, the National Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player, scored the first goal of the game, in the 14th minute, to give Martin Methodist the early lead. But, the Auburn Montgomery equalizer would come, in the 65th minute, off the foot of Mathis Kroeger—the Warhawks hero who netted his first goal of the season with one second remaining in regulation in Friday’s semifinal to force overtime.

Dong accumulated five goals for the RedHawks in the National Championship, including a hat trick in the team’s 5-0 win over No. 1-seeded Grand View (Iowa). His performance was bookended by keeper Stephen Lunney, who recorded the lone penalty-kick save in the semifinals and then fired the final penalty kick into the upper 90 to send the RedHawks to the National Championship final. Lunney was named the National Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Valuable Player, after being named the Capital One College Division Academic All-America® Player of the Year for his performance in the classroom and on the field this season.

For the second-straight year, both National Championship finalists were double-digit seeds that hailed from the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). No. 12-seeded Belhaven (Miss.) defeated No. 11-seed Mobile (Ala.), 2-0, in the 2012 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. Martin Methodist is the highest seed to win the National Championship since unseeded Bethel (Tenn.) defeated No. 2 seed Rio Grande (Ohio), 2-1, in overtime, in 2008.

Auburn Montgomery entered the National Championship as the SSAC Regular-Season Champion, while Martin Methodist earned its bid as the SSAC Tournament Champion. With today’s victory, the RedHawks avenge their regular-season loss to Auburn Montgomery on Sept 28. In that game, the Warhawks won 2-1 on an Alan Harwell goal off the left post with 1.4 seconds remaining in double overtime. The RedHawks are now 2-8-1 all-time against Auburn Montgomery.

With today’s win, Martin Methodist head coach Gerry Cleary has now captured three all-time National Championships, having won two at the helm of the RedHawks women’s soccer program in 2005 and 2007. The RedHawks finish their season 18-3-2. In the National Championship, Martin Methodist defeated Bryan (Tenn.), top-seeded Grand View and No. 8 seed Belhaven (Miss.); advanced on penalty kicks against No. 4-seeded Ashford (Iowa); and bested No. 11 seed Auburn Montgomery to win the program’s first-ever National Championship title.

Auburn Montgomery ends its season 15-7-2. The Warhawks advanced via penalty kicks over Thomas (Ga.) and No. 6 seed Benedictine (Kan.); won in double overtime against No. 3 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan; and won in overtime against No. 2-seeded Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) before losing tonight. With its 2-1 overtime loss to Martin Methodist in today’s National Championship final, Auburn Montgomery is now 0-4-0 all-time in national title games. The Warhawks own runner-up finishes in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2013.

2013 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship All-Tournament Team
Goalkeepers
Stephen Lunney, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)
Phillip Hitpass, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)

Forwards
Sean Dong, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)
Daniel Dreier, Ashford (Iowa)
Cesar Kestring, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)
Michael Fulton, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)

Midfielders
Elvar Sigurdsson, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)
Lucas Almeida, Oklahoma Wesleyan
Jonathan Remond, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)
Elijah Ukpong, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

Defenders

Sebastian Wladyko, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)
Daniel Dunleavy, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)
Erik Berthagen, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Mark Hiller, Ashford (Iowa)

National Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Sean Dong, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)

National Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Stephen Lunney, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)

National Championship Most Valuable Player
Stephen Lunney, Martin Methodist (Tenn.)

Nels Dahlquist Memorial Team Sportsmanship Award
Ashford (Iowa)