The Hastings men's soccer team celebrates its 2016 NAIA soccer championship.

The Hastings men's soccer team didn't need extra time in this one.

Lucas Venegas scored on a feed from Eric Birighitti in the 57th minute to lift the No. 2 Broncos to a 1-0 victory against No. 3 Rio Grande (Ohio) in the NAIA championship game Saturday in Delray Beach, Florida.

"I told the guys early in the year that if we were going to do something special, we would have to be the most blue-collar team in the country," coach Aaron Champenoy said. "We believed in what we needed to do: get up early, work hard, have some heart and believe that we could beat anyone in the country."

It's the second national title for Hastings, which also won in 2010. While Hastings needed three straight overtime or penalty-kick decisions to reach the final, there was no late drama Saturday.

Rio Grande had three shots in the first half, compared with none for Hastings.

Venegas' goal came on the team's first shot of the match, and Joe White and the Broncos' back line shut out Rio Grande despite the Storm finishing with an 11-7 shot advantage and 5-4 edge on corner kicks. White made four saves to earn the win in goal.

"We knew coming into this game that someone off the bench would have to do something for us," Champenoy said. "Four games in six days, we needed someone to step up. The longer the game went, we just needed to stay with it. It was a great break as Birighitti found Venegas with a great touch and found a great spot and tucked it in."

Hastings (24-0-1) nearly took a 2-0 lead on a shot by Marc Tautz, but the junior was called offsides.

In the Broncos' run to the title, their final four matches were all decided by one goal or penalty shot.

Hastings' roster features 12 players from Nebraska, including Nick Hinds (Lincoln Pius X).

Northwestern Ohio defeated Spring Arbor (Mich.) 1-0 to capture the women's NAIA title in Orange Beach, Alabama.


Load comments