KANSAS CITY, Mo.-The Golden Eagles (6-10-1, 3-2-1 Summit League) begin their quest for their first conference title in 12 years when they take on IPFW (8-9-2, 3-2-1 Summit League) in the semifinal round of the Summit League Tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Despite multiple regular season titles, The Golden Eagles have not won a conference tournament or captured a berth in the NCAA tournament since 1999. ORU surprised everyone last season as the No.4 seed; upsetting regular season champion UMKC in the semifinals before falling to Oakland 3-1 in the finals. This year the Golden Eagles had to defeat the No.1 seeded Western Illinois just to qualify for the tournament.
ORU is led by Senior Jarrett Hamilton and Junior Aaron Birk. Both have six goals on the season and were selected to the All-Conference First Team. Freshman Nick Petolick has been solid for the Golden Eagles all season, collecting 63 saves and one shutout. He was named to the Summit League's All-Newcomer team.
ORU enters the Summit League Championship as the No.3 seed and will face the No.2 seeded Mastodons for the second time this season.
IPFW is led by Summit League Offensive Player of the Year Max Touloute, who has scorched the conference with 33 points off 12 goals and nine assists. The Mastadons also have Colin Helmrich who has chipped in 21 points off eight goals and five assists. Both Touloute and Helmrich are on the All-Summit League First Team for 2011. IPFW has split time between two freshman keepers this season. Brandon Cloutier and Ryan Bristol have combined for 102 saves with 35 goals allowed.
In their first meeting with ORU, the Mastodons won 3-1 thanks to goals by Touloute and Helmrich. Touloute also had two assists in the game.
If ORU is able to pull off their second upset in as many games, they will face the winner of the Western Illinois and Oakland semifinal matchup in the Finals on Sunday, November 13. The Golden Eagles have defeated both teams this season.