Nov. 11, 2012Photo Gallery
Contact: Jeff Sattora
DETROIT.- It's been a long time coming for the Cleveland State men's soccer program but they are finally back. For the first time since 1980 the Cleveland State Vikings will be in the NCAA men's soccer tournament, qualifying with a 2-0 Horizon League Championship win over Loyola on Sunday.
For Head Coach Ali Kazemaini, who was a player for the Vikings the last time the school qualified for the tournament in 1980, this moment is a dream come true, a truly special moment.
"When I came back to help out this program my goal was to get it back to the NCAA tournament," Kazemaini said. "We worked so hard, this is not just for me, this is for all the other kids the last seven years, and those who put the program on the map way way back. This is for everybody."
The Vikings, this year's second seed in the Horizon League tournament, used a strong second half to pull away and earn the victory over the sixth seeded Ramblers.
Although the first half was scoreless, CSU came out quick in the second session and kept the pressure on.
For Kazemaini and the squad it was important to be aggressive no matter the score and situation.
"It was very important to be aggressive, there was no way you are going to be successful if you just went and hoped things went your way," Kazemaini said. "You can't defend something you don't have and we've never had a championship, we can't defend it, we have to go get it."
Going and getting it is exactly what the Vikings did all day long, out shooting the Ramblers 18-4 on the day, including an 8-2 shots on goal advantage.
Even with all the shots, CSU wasn't able to find the back of the net until four minutes into the second half, when a theme all year long continued, upperclassman stepped up.
Senior Aaron Adkins was able to find senior Cazz Warrenat the 49 minute mark to give the Vikings a lead they would never give back. Adkins brought the ball down the right side, crossing it to Warren who found the back of the net on the near post.
Even with the lead Adkins wasn't done with his offensive work, as he continued to play well in the second 45 minutes. The senior, who led the team with four shots on goal, scored the Vikings' second goal off a pass from Tommy Fitzgeraldwith 7:35 to go to put away the game for good.
For senior goalie, and tournament MVP, Brad Stuver, the effort by the team all game long, whether tied or in front, is was put it over the top.
"It was a great effort by the guys, best effort I've seen all year," Stuver said in a post game interview. "It makes my job so much easier, a phenomenal result."
The senior shined all game long in net in front of that strong effort, earning his ninth shutout of the year with two saves.
The NCAA selection show will be on Monday (Nov. 12) at 5:30 p.m. The CSU Department of Athletics will host a gathering with the team. Details of the event will be released later tonight.
Men's Soccer Ready for Playoff Run