Concordia Rolls to Division I Crown
ROUND ROCK, Texas – After trailing 5-2 late in the second quarter to Virginia Tech, Concordia went on 15-5 run to finish the game and claim the Division I title, 17-10, at the 2023 MCLA National Championships presented by New Balance on Friday night at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.
The Eagles become the first program to win championships in both divisions – Concordia is the 2017 Division II title-holder – as well becoming the first team to leave the MCLA with a title. The Eagles are moving to NCAA Division II for the 2024 season.
Much like the MCLA Division II championship game, the D-I version creaked out of the gate.
Virginia Tech (17-3) started the scoring four minutes in as Aidan Smith converted a turnaround jump shot. After nearly a 10-minute hiatus, Alex Ashley drove to the net to put the Hokies up 2-0 with 1:46 to play in the first.
Getting blanked for a quarter was a far cry from the record-setting 25 goals Concordia (15-5) racked up on Thursday night, but the Eagles finally got on the board three minutes into the second frame. Nick Beeson set up Brady Gailbraith for a top shelf bouncer. Eric Obispo converted a nifty, backhand shot in front to tie the game 38 seconds later.
The Hokies responded methodically, racking up three goals over the next nine minutes to balloon the lead to three, 5-2, with 2:29 left in the half.
And then the onslaught came.
It started innocently enough. Tyler Collins buried a bouncer from up top followed by Obispo’s second with 12 seconds left in the half to pull the Eagles to within one, 5-4.
Three minutes into the second half, the Eagles went into a second gear. Yungte Young went coast-to-coast to tie the game followed by a quick rebound marker from Andrew Buckley to give Concordia its first lead of the game.
Smith briefly tied the game at sixes midway through the third, but Concordia scored the next five – including two from Chad McFadden, who scored 10 against Liberty on Thursday – to take an 11-6 advantage.
Four more goals to open the final quarter pushed the margin to 15-7 and Virginia Tech would never get closer than five the rest of the way.
McFadden finished with another five goals for the Eagles while Beeson finished with two goals and an assist and Jeremy Barnes chipped in with a goal and three helpers.
Concordia goalie Daniel Yang was outstanding, finishing with 16 saves. Cade Poe was also a difference-maker for the Eagles at the dot, winning 25 of the 31 (80.6 percent) draws he took.
Smith and Ashley finished with two goals apiece for Virginia Tech. William Eckert made eight saves in the loss.