The UW-Platteville men's soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III national playoffs by blitzing Westminster, Missouri 5-0 Saturday night in Chicago, Illinois.
The Pioneers will face host North Park Sunday at 5 p.m. as the field will narrow from 32 to 16.
Brad Strobel scored three goals, and Logan Rinderknecht had two to lead the Pioneers to the historic win, the fourth in UW-Platteville's 53-year soccer history. The Pioneers are making their third national playoff appearance. Coach Enzo Fuschino's team went 1-1 in the 2008 playoffs and 2-1 in 2012.
Strobel made sure the 2017 Pioneers added to that win total, scoring just 2:17 into the contest, on an assist by Nick Hoklas. He added a second goal at the 14:01 mark, converting on a rebound shot. The Pioneers took that 2-0 lead into the halftime lockeroom.
Rinderknecht help put the game away with a pair of goals in the first 17:37 of the second half. Travis Mashuga assisted on the first score, and Ivan Khamenka on the second. Strobel capped off the scoring at 66:02, taking a long pass from Mason Spang and beating the BlueJay keeper. Strobel's hat-trick is the first by a Pioneer since 2011.
Pioneer keeper Nate Miller stopped all five shots on goal to preserve the shutout and improve to 12-3-2 on the season.
Westminster, St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champions, finished 8-10-2. The Central Region's top seed, North Park will bring in a 17-1-1 record into Sunday's contest.