Penalty Kicks Lift Rose-Hulman to NCAA Soccer Round Two

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225Johnson NcaasERIE, PA. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a dramatic penalty kicks victory over Penn State Behrend on Thursday night. 

Rose-Hulman (11-5-5) advances to face Ohio Wesleyan University, the consensus No. 1 team in the country, in round two of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Thursday's match marked the first time in program history that the Engineers advanced to the second round in the NCAAs.

"It was a goal that we set at the beginning of the season," Rose-Hulman head coach Sean Helliwell said. "Obviously, the eight seniors have been to the NCAA tournament before in 2011, so I think they knew at this point, (a win) was a possibility.

"But to do it away from home and to do it the way they did -- I thought the guys were all very brave, they stepped up, and what a great way to finish with Marshall (Ishmael) scoring the game-winning goal -- you couldn't have scripted it any better."

The two teams played a scoreless draw for 110 minutes, before Rose-Hulman won the penalty kick shootout 9-8 in a dramatic 11-round contest. 

The Fightin' Engineers missed their first penalty kick of the best-of-five session, and Penn State Behrend made their first four kicks to start the penalty kicks. Jimmy Belack had a chance to win the game for Penn State Behrend, but Rose-Hulman junior Drew Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Bishop Fenwick) made a save to keep the match going.

Penn State Behrend had the first attempt during the penalty kick session, and took a 5-4 lead in the sixth round before senior Max Brown (Atlanta Ga./Chamblee Charter) tied the score again at 5-5.

The Fightin' Engineers had a chance to win during the seventh round of penalty kicks after another Miller save on an attempt by Kevin Vock.  Penn State Behrend goalkeeper Jarrod Wassell made a save, however, to force a ninth round.

Both teams scored again in rounds 8, 9 and 10, with three Rose-Hulman players needing to score in each round to keep the match ongoing.  Freshman Tyler Blankenship (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley), sophomore Brent Kamer (Greenwood/Center Grove) and freshman Alex Jansen (Johnsburg, Ill.) all scored to keep the Engineers alive in each round.

Finally, in the 11th round, with the original first shooter for each team back in the game, Miller stopped Kyle Coonelly to give Rose-Hulman its second chance to win.  Senior Marshall Ishmael (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut) booted home the game winner to give the Fightin' Engineers the 9-8 penalty kick advancement.

The match itself was a tightly contested 0-0 draw in two overtimes that featured Penn State Behrend outshooting Rose-Hulman 17-10.  Miller recorded 10 saves in the match to force the extra session.  Senior William Senat (Edmond, Okla./North) fired five shots to pace the Rose-Hulman offense, with senior Drew Belk (Jasper, Ind.) adding two.

"I thought it was a really close game and both teams had chances -- it seemed like there were momentum shifts throughout the game," Helliwell said. "Each team had their scoring chances, but I thought our goalkeeper Drew Miller was outstanding today -- every time they shot, he seemed to catch it and he was really a big difference maker."

Penn State Behrend had the best chance to score in the first overtime period, when Sean Polosky chipped what appeared to be the winning goal over a charging Miller.  Freshman Nick Kowalkowski (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way) sprinted back, however, and forced the shot just beyond the net and created a corner kick, keeping the match alive.

The men's soccer team becomes the third team in Rose-Hulman history to advance in the NCAA Division III Tournament, joining the men's basketball and baseball squads.  Rose-Hulman stands 11-5-5 heading into the round-of-32 match against 19-0-3 Ohio Wesleyan on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Delaware, Ohio. 

"I think it's a great achievement for our boys, what a great achievement," Helliwell said.