Louisville, Ky. - Lynn University will be playing for its 23rd national championship following the men's soccer team's 4-1 victory over fifth-ranked Quincy University in the NCAA Division II National Semifinals. Chris Hellmann's brilliance knew no bounds as he had a hand in all four goals with two scores and two assists.
The third-ranked Fighting Knights (18-1-1) advance to the national championship for the third time in the last four years, fifth time in their NCAA history and 11th time overall (NCAA & NAIA). Lynn will battle top-ranked and undefeated Charleston (W. Va.) (22-0-1) in the national title match on Saturday, December 6, at 12 p.m. Fans can watch the match live at LynnFightingKnights.com and receive in-game updates by following @Lynn_Knights on Twitter and Instagram.
Hellmann, a Daktronics First Team All-American, upped his offensive numbers to 26 goals, 13 assists and 65 points. He is second in the NCAA in both goals and points while both totals moved him into sole possession of third place in Lynn's single season history record book. His two goals gave him eight multi-goal games on the season, he has tallied a point in 19 of 20 matches and he heads into the national title game having scored in seven consecutive games, 14 of his last 15 games and 17 of 20 overall.
Putting pressure on the Hawks (21-2-2) from the get-go, Lynn managed to get on the scoreboard 17 minutes into play following several close chances. Mortensen picked up a pass on the right wing and found Hellmann left of center. A bouncing pass had Quincy thinking of an errant chance but Hellmann chipped the ball over keeper Drew Duncan's head for the 1-0 advantage.
Quincy managed to adjust its offensive strategy and earn a few offensive opportunities on the Blue & White midway through the half but Lynn gained momentum back in its favor when Hellmann split the defense with a fast-paced ball up the middle. Lukas Zlatarits fought off his defender and ripped a shot under the crossbar past a drawn-out Duncan to put Lynn ahead 2-0 heading into the break.
Having come back from a 2-0 deficit in the national quarterfinals, Lynn looked to put away the Hawks with an early second-half score. While it did not come early, Hellmann added to Lynn's cushion in the 66th minute off an easy tap-in when Mortensen found him alone on the right post after Duncan came out to challenge within the 18-yard box.
Lynn's jubilation would be short lived with Quincy's Artan Emini scoring on a strike 15-yards out on a bullet shot to the upper left corner to make it a 3-1 game in the 72nd minute. Fighting Knights' keeper Lucas Fancello then had to make two diving stops on shots from Jordan Roberts to maintain his squads lead.
The pressure would be lightened in the 79th minute as Hellmann completed his six-point afternoon. The sophomore striker sent in a low cross from the right corner, past Duncan, and Mortensen walked in the ball to the 4-1 victory.
Lynn outshot Quincy 21-12 with both Duncan and Fancello logging four saves apiece. Quincy did manage two corner kicks over Lynn's one. The four goals allowed by Quincy was a season-high while the Blue & White have tallied at least three goals in four consecutive and six of the last seven matches.
The Fighting Knights must now turn its attention to Charleston. These two teams have met twice in their history, with Lynn owning a 2-0 record and a 10-0 goal-differential, but not since 1997. Charleston earned a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in its school's history this year and redeemed its only blemish, a 1-1 tie with West Virginia Wesleyan, with a pair of 2-0 victories over the Bobcats later in the season.
The heavyweight tilt will take place on the campus of Bellarmine University on Saturday, December 4, at noon. Video streaming will be live on NCAAsports.com and LynnFightingKnights.com.