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Bruins edge Warriors in regular-season finale

By Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – Bellevue University escaped with a 1-0 win over the Waldorf College men’s soccer team to clinch the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) regular-season title on Saturday.

The Bruins (9-3-4, 3-0-1) received a first-half goal from Tobias Maertzke and were able to maintain the lead for the remainder of the match.

Maertzke’s goal came during the 32nd minute. He found an opening, maneuvered past a Warrior defender and delivered a left-side shot in the top-right corner of the goal. Maertzke leads the Bellevue in scoring this season with 20 points behind a team-high eight goals and four assists.

The match featured conservative play as both teams combined for a total of seven shots on goal. The Bruins owned a 2-0 advantage in shots on target in the first half. Looking to rally in the second half, the Warriors (8-8, 3-1) fired the remaining five shots on frame as they were cheered on by a large and energized home crowd.

Bellevue, which is receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, outshot Waldorf 19-10 in the match.

Senior Steven Shelley accounted for two of Waldorf’s shots on goal. Seniors Federico MendozaBrian Shariffi and junior Stephen Jenkins also registered shots on goal.

Senior goalkeeper Erubey Ponce recorded one save while facing two shots for the Warriors.

Ben Martin earned his sixth shutout of the season for the Bruins. With four saves on the day, Martin closed out the regular season with 58 saves and 18 goals allowed in 16 matches.

Prior to the match, seniors Kurtis AguilarKwaku AmoahZach Overberg, Mendoza, Ponce and Shelley were honored for their dedication to the Waldorf men’s soccer program.

Amoah ranks second in school history among career leaders in goals (18) and points (43). The forward and midfielder from Albertville, Minnesota is also tied for ninth in career assists (7).

Shelley currently ranks eighth in goals (14) and ninth in points (32) on the Warrior career scoring list.

Ponce sits in third with the most career shutouts (4) and tied the school’s single-season record with four clean sheets this year.

After coming off a four-win finish during the 2014 campaign, Waldorf’s players stepped up this year and proved they possess the ability to challenge tough opponents. Predicted to finish third in the NSAA preseason coaches’ poll, the Warriors battled all season long to position themselves for a chance to win the league’s regular-season crown and now set their sights on making a run to the NSAA Tournament championship.

Waldorf earns the No. 2 seed heading into the conference tournament, which will be held next week at Jamestown, North Dakota. The tournament consists of a play-in match on Thursday. Semifinal matchups follow on Friday and the conference championship is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 8. The Warriors’ opponent and match time will be announced at a later date.