CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For four years, Hunter Moles chased - without success - state titles as a basketball and soccer standout at South Charleston. But that's OK because, as a freshman goalkeeper, he's won a national title at WVU Tech.
Moles did his part, stopping three shots, including a key save with less than 20 minutes left, and senior forward Dennis Fuerst assisted on one goal and scored the game-winner Saturday afternoon, leading Tech to a 2-1 victory over Maine Fort Kent in the men's championship game of the USCAA national tournament at Trace Fork.
The top-seeded Golden Bears (18-2-1) won three games in three days to capture the 10-team United States Collegiate Athletic Association event staged at both Trace Fork and Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium.
"It feels great,'' Moles said. "This is like my home field. I lose my last high school game here on PKs, but we win a national championship here, so it really feels great.''
Fuerst's goal, which came with 17:50 left in the match, was his sixth score of the tournament.
With the score tied at 1, Tech got a throw-in along the right side, precipitating a scrum for possession in front of the Fort Kent goal. Raul Martin got his leg on it for Tech before Fuerst blasted the ball into the net from close range.
"I think he wanted to shoot it,'' Fuerst said of Martin, "so it was a little bit lucky. It was our only chance in the second half, but I think we deserve it because we lost the same game last year when we were the better team. But that doesn't matter anymore.''
The Golden Bears fell to Briarcliffe 2-1 in the USCAA finals last year in Asheville, N.C.
Saturday's match was a bit different than the teams' regular-season meeting at Trace Fork on Oct. 14, won 4-3 by Tech off a corner kick with six seconds remaining.
"It's just playoff soccer,'' said Fort Kent coach Bill Ashby. "Everything gets tight. The regular season, it's more pretty and in the playoffs, it becomes more ugly soccer. Limited chances and play conservatively. But it was a good match.''
Tech jumped in front 1-0 with 14:39 left in the first half when Fuerst advanced the ball down the left side during a half-field attack. His crossing pass was headed into the goal by Glenroy Miller, who had subbed into the game just moments earlier.