Auburn University Montgomery has never won a NAIA men’s national soccer championship. Four times the Warhawks have reached the title game, coming up a little short each time.
It happened again in the 2013 final, as the Warhawks lost 2-1 in overtime to Martin Methodist College at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex in Montgomery, Ala.
Overtime matches were nothing new for AUM, which won three of four in extra time during the regular season.
They reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA tournament by winning a shootout with Bene-dictine College after playing a 2-2 draw. The shootout went 5-4 in six rounds of kicks.
Senior Cesar Kestring (Brazil) scored the golden goal to give the Warhawks a 3-2 double OT win over #3 seed Oklahoma Wesle-yan in the quarters.
AUM had a miracle finish in the semifinals against second-seeded Lindsey Wilson, tying the score at 1-1 with only .01 second left in regulation.
Sophomore Mathis Kroeger headed in the equalizer and junior midfielder Elvar Sigurdsson tapped in a rebound off the post for the game-winner with 3:29 left in overtime.
However, in the championship game, AUM ran out of overtime magic, and MMC midfieder Jonathan Remond scored the game-winner to end the Warhawks championship dream.
AUM finished the season 15-7-2, despite starting the season 2-4, capturing the Southern States Athletic Conference regular-season championship and defeating the #2, #3 and #6 seeded teams in the NAIA tournament.
“Our team has been running on emotion and adrenaline since the Oklahoma Wesleyan game,” said AUM head coach Wulf Koch after the final loss. “I am really proud of this team. They put everything out on the line and that was our theme for the year.”
The 2013 Warhawks were an unusual team, comprised of 10 players from Germany, four from Iceland, three from Brazil, along with four players from Alabama.
Unlike most of his teammates, one of those, Alan Harwell, did not travel far from home to play collegiate soccer. He is a sophomore from Montgomery, a graduate of Brewbaker Technology Magnet School.
Harwell, who originally signed to play at UAB but did not play in the fall of 2012, tied for Sigurdsson for most goals with 13. He had eight assists.
In his first game of his collegiate career, he scored his first goal against Milligan 18 seconds after the opening whistle.
A number of his goals were dramatic, like his game-winner with 1.4 seconds left in double overtime in a 2-1 regular season victory at Martin Methodist. His second game-winner came in a 2-1 overtime victory at Southern Poly.
Four AUM starters have received NAIA All-America honors. Senior defender Talan Souza (Brazil) was named first team, senior goalkeeper Vignir Johannesson (Iceand) and sophomore midfielder Sebastian Wldayko (Germany) were on the second team, while Sigurdsson (Iceland) collected third-team honors.
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