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Cleveland State Men’s soccer claims Horizon League title, NCAA berth

Last year in the Horizon League men’s soccer final, Cleveland State lost to Oakland University. Fast forward to today, and the Vikings find themselves champions and now in the NCAA tournament with a 3-0 win over the IUPUI Jaguars.


In the freezing rain on Cleveland State’s campus, the Vikings finally overcame last year’s loss in the confines of their home field. Jannis Schmitt, the 2022 Tournament MVP and former player with Cleveland SC, took his Horizon League Player of the Year award last year and parlayed it into an NCAA tournament berth this year.


Game Time-Cleveland State and IUPUI!

Cleveland State was chosen as the #2 team in the preseason poll. But IUPUI was picked to finish last. And Jaguar coach Sid Van Druenen found his team on the steps of an NCAA tournament bid! Both teams were ready for the championship game!


CSU takes the field.



IUPUI and their starting 11.


First Half

Cleveland State goal!

Jannis had two game winning goals this past year, but his teammate, Albert Portas, a senior midfielder from Barcelona, Spain, scored the first and technically the game winning goal in the first half on a great move around the defender and an amazing left footed chip over the surprised goalie and into the back of the net.




CSU had a 21-6 shot advantage over the Jaguars. Lucas Morefield, the junior IUPUI goalkeeper, had to make three saves the entire match but saw many attempts on his goal in the cold and rain. Cleveland’s goalie, Omeed Naeemy, from Ontario, and his defense recorded their eighth clean sheet for the season!


Nearly the equalizer!

IUPUI’s best chance of the entire game came at the end of the first half. Lukas Hackaa, a midfielder from Sweden, had a good look from inside the box that he took but his shot ricocheted off a CSU defender and flew just wide right. 


The Jaguars had their first and only corner after this, but it was thwarted as the half ended.


Second Half-All Cleveland State

Jannis scores!

In the second half, Jannis, from Germany, found the ball at his feet and in the box. Quickly getting his defender turned around on a great deke right, Schmidt nailed his shot into the left side of the goal as Morefield came forward to close space.





The final Cleveland goal came in the 73’ by Pablo Kawecki (Spain). Bojan Kolevski, the junior from North Macedonia (not the Akron suburb!), assisted on both Schmidt’s and Kawecki’s goal.

Cleveland State

Photo by Charles Murray

The Vikings and their international players celebrated with teammates and coaches on Krenzler Field, their home turf, after the final whistle.




Cleveland State will know their next opponent come Monday. Albert Camargo, a reporter for the NCAA, is predicting that the Vikings will battle Ohio State in the first tournament game! With an RPI of 69, CSU has the worst ranking of all the teams in the field. But with their international flair, solid defending, and explosive ability to score, don’t think for a minute they can’t win at least one game in the tournament!


Here are the highlights from the Vikings championship victory.

Featured photo by Charles Murray

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

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