3-Peat!! Cole’s Golden Goal Lifts Tigers to Third Straight Central Region Championship

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State is headed to the national quarterfinals once again by claiming the NCAA Central Region Championship for a third consecutive year on a bitterly cold night at FHSU Soccer Stadium. Hosting the NCAA Super Region for the first time in school history, the Tigers sent the home faithful home with a thrill as Michael Cole buried the golden goal just under two minutes into overtime to break a scoreless tie.

Fort Hays State had opportunities early to score, but could not capitalize. Lindenwood controlled play for a good portion of the second half, but the Tigers were still able to keep the Lions off the scoreboard despite trailing in shots 12-5 by the end of regulation. Goalkeeper Michael Yantz came up with key saves that allowed the Tigers to get to overtime.

It took just four seconds shy of two minutes in the overtime period for the stalemate to be broken. Mauricio Castorino found room in the middle of the field near the top of the box before feeding the ball to Michael Cole at the left edge of the box. Cole had enough room to rip a low shot with the wind that snuck under Lindenwood keeper Aleksa Nenadic for the region championship clincher.

Michael Yantz delivered six big saves for the Tigers, including one on a dive that deflected off his hands and into the post that would have been a sure goal had he not been there. He moved to 8-4-1 on the season with the win.

No. 16 ranked Fort Hays State faces No. 6 ranked Rockhurst on Sunday (Nov. 20) in a rematch of last year’s national quarterfinal (Super Region Final). Game time is set for 1 pm at FHSU Soccer Stadium. Rockhurst advanced with a 5-4 penalty kick shootout decision with Drury after playing to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes.

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