MARSHALL, Mo. – Trojan sophomore keeper Logan Miller came away with 11 saves Saturday night to shutout Missouri Valley and help the Trojans to a 1-0 NAIA National Championship Opening Round win.
Hannibal-LaGrange was outshot 18-9 and only placed four shots on goal compared to Missouri Valley's 11, but was still able to find a way to score and keep the Vikings off the board for its 11th shutout this season.
The Trojans' winning goal was set up by a cross from the left side of the box by freshmen Agustin Concha to sophomore Joao Junqueira. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native's shot went directly at the Viking keeper and deflected off of his legs to junior Felipe Silva who then beat a defender to open up space and place the ball in the back of the net.
The Trojans nearly found its first goal of the contest in the opening five minutes after a restart from just outside the right of the box. The ball has hit into traffic deep in the box and juggled around before junior Mario Albero hit a shot just high of the crossbar.
Missouri Valley controlled possession for the opening 10 minutes of the second half before Hannibal-LaGrange started putting pressure on the Vikings.
Albero helped create the first good look of the half with a great pass from midfield to Silva who dribbled the ball deep into the box. However, the Trojans' leading score was unable to finish as his shot deflected off of the Viking keeper and out-of-bounds.
Silva again had a great scoring chance in the 61st minute but his shot glanced off of the post to senior Thiago Pereira whose shot also hit off of the post and out of harm's way.
Missouri Valley had a great scoring chance in the 66th minute as it hit a shot off of a restart from 20 yards out. However, the Vikings were denied again by Miller who made a huge diving save.
The Vikings had another chance for an equalizer with 14 minutes remaining as a corner kick found its way inside a congested box and to the feet of a Missouri Valley player. Again Miller was there to make a crucial save for Hannibal-LaGrange and keep Missouri Valley of the scoreboard.
The Trojans called on Miller again in the 81st minute as the Vikings found itself with another restart close to the box. The Missouri Valley cross inside the box found the head of a Viking deep in the box, but his shot was deflected over the crossbar by Miller for his 11th save of the night.
With less than a minute remaining, the Vikings had two great looks at goal but came away empty. What looked to be a sure equalizer, after Miller went down at the top of the box, ended up deflecting off of sophomore Gregorio Pestana. The second look for Missouri Valley came deep in the box but was high as the ball floated out over the crossbar.
The 1-0 win pushes the Trojans on Montgomery, Ala. to face Rio Grande on Monday, Nov. 26 in the second round of the 2012 NAIA National Championship presented by Carrabba's Italian Grill.