By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Soccer has a tough road ahead of it as the Crusaders head to Chicago to face the Dominican University (Ill.) Stars on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. EST in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship. Each of Capital's potential first two round matchups will be hosted by the University of Chicago.
Dominican holds a 14-4-0 overall record and won the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship thanks to one of the most explosive offenses in the country. This is the 14th time the Stars have advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship but first since 2014.
Five different players have recorded 25 or more points this season and three have more than 30 points, led by sophomore forward Nicolo Vitale's 33 (15 goals, three assists). Senior midfielder Jonathan Arzeta leads all of Division III in assists with 17 and has also scored seven goals. As a team, the Stars average 3.67 goals per game and are the third-ranked team in the Central Region. Dominican's 66 total goals are the second-most in the country.
Dominicans' goalkeepers, Brendan Martin and Aaron Menyes, have each played 12 matches this season. Martin, a freshman, has only allowed seven goals and has a .806 save percentage in those 12 matches, 10 of them starts.
Should Capital beat the Stars, the Crusaders will play the winner of No. 11 Chicago and Lake Forest College. Chicago is the second-ranked team in the Central Region and the Maroons are 16-2-0 this year. The Maroons average 2.67 goals per game this season and are led by junior forward Max Lopez and his 16 goals. Sophomore forward Dayo Adeosun leads Chicago with 12 assists. Junior forward Matthew Koh is the team's most balanced offensive player with eight goals and nine assists.
Senior goalkeeper Hill Bonin has played the majority of the minutes in goal for the Maroons this season with 15 starts. In those 15 starts, Bonin has allowed only 11 goals and has recorded five shutouts. The Maroons have a 0.66 goals-against average as a team.
In its last match, Chicago beat Washington-St. Louis in the University Athletic Association Tournament Championship, the team's third outright conference title in four years.
Taking on Chicago in the first round will be the Lake Forest Foresters, owners of a 12-6-1 overall record this year. The Foresters are the worst defensive team in the region with a 1.44 goals-against average but they average 2 goals per game themselves.
Senior forward Elyas Ingram leads Lake Forest with 19 points (six goals and seven assists). Senior midfielder Seton Trostle has eight goals this season, the most on the team.
Junior goalkeeper Tero Elias has seen the most action between the pipes for the Foresters this season with 15 appearances, all starts. Elias has a 1.17 goals-against average and has made 60 saves.
Lake Forest defeated Grinnell College in the Midwest Conference Tournament Championship to earn its automatic berth. This is the third time in the past five years that the Foresters have advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The second round of the tournament will be played on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. EST.