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Photo courtesy of Larry Radloff,

A perfectly executed free kick by Tim Stadler, a junior from Wauwatosa, and another stellar defensive effort put the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh men’s soccer team in the NCAA Division III Championship Final Four.

UW Oshkosh (20-0-3) advanced to the semifinal round of the 60-team tournament after defeating last year’s national runner-up Calvin College (Mich.), 1-0, on Nov. 20 at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

UW Oshkosh, which made final four appearances in 1994, 2000 and 2003, will play two-time defending national champion Messiah College (Pa.) in the semifinals on Dec. 3 at the Blossom Sports Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The Falcons (21-1), who are appearing in the semifinals for the seventh consecutive year, defeated the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.), 3-0, in a quarterfinal round contest held on Nov. 21.

Joining UW Oshkosh and Messiah College in the semifinals are Bowdoin College (Maine) (15-1-4) and Lynchburg College (Va.) (19-4-1). Semifinal round winners will play for the national championship on Dec. 4 at the Blossom Sports Complex.

During the semifinal match with Calvin College (16-3-5), Stadler broke a scoreless tussle with his free kick in the 61st minute of action.

Following a foul to UW Oshkosh’s Robby Giljohann, a junior from Pewaukee, Stadler drilled a low 23-yard kick past a wall of Calvin College defenders and into the corner of the net. The goal was Stadler’s team-leading 12th goal of the season, including his seventh match winner.

Calvin College threatened twice to tie the score in the final 20 minutes of play, but shots by Miles Colago and Scott Hooker sailed over UWO’s goal.

UW Oshkosh attempted 13 shots, including seven in the first half. The Titans had five of their shots saved by Calvin College goalkeeper Ryan Bratt and two more by a Knight defender.

Mike Franzen, a senior from Sussex, led UWO with four shots on goal, and two other shots coming from both Giljohann and Stadler.

Calvin College was limited to just six shots as UW Oshkosh recorded its record 19th shutout of the season. The Knights, who were handcuffed by the defensive pressure applied by the UWO back line of Jack Borski, a senior from Madison, Will Chaney, a junior from Cedarburg, and Andy Kohel, a senior from Racine, had two of their shots saved by Titan goalkeeper James Pike, junior from Wauwatosa.

UW Oshkosh entered the contest ranked fifth in the NCAA Division III by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

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