Herman, Geneva just short of national soccer title

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Greencastle-Antrim alum Steven Herman has started in every game for Geneva College which advanced to the national soccer title game last weekend.

BEAVER FALLS — Jesse Herman, a Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2010 graduate, is making new tracks as a soccer player for Geneva College.

Herman, a starting outside defender for the Golden Tornados, and the team advanced to the national soccer title game last week. After pulling out one-goal wins in the first two games of the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) National Championship Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., Geneva came up just short in the NCCAA Division I title game by a 2-1 final against top-seeded California Baptist.

On Saturday, Nov. 19 Geneva traveled to Malone University in Canton, Ohio, for the NCCAA Eastern Regional Championship finals. The game remained scoreless through regular action and two overtimes. Geneva won the championship in a penalty kick shootout. The win improved Geneva’s season record to 14-5-3 and punched their ticket for the national tournament.

Geneva was seeded seventh in the eight team field at nationals that began Nov. 30, but knocked off second-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic University (12-7-0) and then Judson (13-8-1) in the semifinals for its shot at the title Saturday, Dec. 3.

California Baptist University (15-5-0), the West region champion, opened the scoring in the finals, but Geneva tied it in the 53rd minute. It wasn’t until the clock showed nine minutes to play that California hooked up the winner goal.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow right now but over time we will be able to look back at what all was accomplished this year and be very proud of our season,” said head coach Gary Dunda. “This will be a team that I as a coach will certainly never forget.”

Geneva’s 16 victories in 2011 matched the third highest single season total for any Geneva team since the inception of the program in 1972.

Dunda added, “It is certainly an exciting time for our program. It has been quite a while since a Geneva team has gotten its chance at the NCCAA national tournament.

“I do believe we open some eyes down here. Not many people knew much about Geneva College soccer a week ago and pretty much the entire field has a really good idea about how special this program is and how much heart every one of these guys have on and off the soccer field. I could not be prouder of this team and of what we all accomplished this season.”

Herman has started in all 25 games for Geneva this fall with the third most minutes on the team at 1,708. He has two assists from his defensive position. He isn’t the only Franklin County product to play a part in the Geneva success. Dave Gerlach from Shippensburg is a junior on the squad and freshman Alexander Rosenbaum played high school ball for Chambersburg.  

Geneva has made the NCCAA playoffs 14 times and has five national tournament appearances. The Golden Tornados have one national title, in 1994.

JESSE HERMAN