By: Kelly Shipp
DENVER – The University of Nebraska Omaha defeated the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons 1-0 in the second semifinal of the day to advance to the championship match on Saturday.
After a scoreless first half, the Mavericks finally broke through late in the second half when senior Noor Hamadi got his head on a kick from Hugo Ellouk to score the match's only goal of the evening.
The Mastodons didn't go away, creating numerous chances for themselves and just narrowly missing the equalizer late in the second half when Chris Baranowski put a header just left of the net with less than 10 minutes to play. The Mastodons had their chances with a match-high 10 shots but were unable to get the goal they needed to send the match into extra time.
• Hamadi's goal was his first of the season
• Hugo Ellouk and Diego Gutierrez both assisted on the Mavericks lone goal
• Gutierrez has scored or assisted on a goal in eight of the Mavericks 14 matches
• Omaha earned seven corner kicks while Purdue Fort Wayne had 4
• Purdue Fort Wayne goalkeeper Tor Erik Larsen allowed one goal on 10 shots. He made four saves in the match
• Omaha's goalkeeper Ugo Tritz earned his fifth shutout of the season and made four saves
• Omaha had six shots to Purdue Fort Wayne's 10
Quoting Coach Bob Warming
On his team's performance
"I'm just so proud of our guys because they stuck together, kept playing hard, kept improving and now we are just one win away from a conference championship."
On the team's added aggressiveness after halftime
"We had nine new guys that didn't play last year. They were starting and there was a lot of tension. I said fellas, you have to enjoy this, you're controlling the game, you've got the ball. When you lose it, fight to get it back. But we were too frustrated and I thought we flowed a lot better I the second half and it was fun."
Purdue Fort Wayne: 10-8-1
Omaha will take on top-seeded Denver on Saturday at 3 p.m. (MT) in the championship of the 2018 Summit League Men's Soccer Championship.