ADA -- The No. 16 Ohio Northern men's soccer team won its fourth straight OAC Tournament championship by a 3-0 score over John Carroll on Saturday afternoon at Kerscher Stadium.



The Polar Bears have now won nine in a row and move to 18-3-0 on the season, while the Blue Streaks fall to 15-4-1.

The victory also gives Northern an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament, which will have its field announced on Monday at 1 pm.

ONU scored three times in the first half to build a lead.

In the 20th minute, senior Matt Fleming took a corner kick and sent a ball to the top of the box, where freshman Austin Horton flicked it over to freshman Matt Kinkopf, who buried a shot in the back of the net.

The goal was the 15th of the season for Kinkopf.

"It was huge for us to get a lead in the first half," said head coach Brent Ridenour. "Once we got that first goal, our offense started clicking."

The Polar Bears added another goal at the 30:12 mark.

Sophomore Chad Smith sent a ball towards the box and sophomore Shintaroh Itoh deflected the ball into the right corner of the net, to expand the ONU lead to 2-0.

In the 40th minute, senior Jeremy Barnes forced a turnover and sent a pass to freshman Dustin Lorenzo, who beat the goalie to make it 3-0 in favor of the Polar Bears.

The Northern defense was tough all afternoon, not allowing the Blue Streaks to take a shot on goal.

"To shutout a team that is as explosive as John Carroll is a great accomplishment," added Ridenour. "We knew they were going to put a ton of pressure on us. But our back four and goalkeeper did a great job keeping them in check."



Freshman goalkeeper Evan Bader (18-3-0) posted his third shutout in the last four matches and his 10th of the season.

Zach Fehrenbach (6-3-1) made four saves in goal for the Blue Streaks.

ONU outshot the JCU by a 15-11 margin and also owned a 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The win gives Northern's senior class its fourth OAC Tournament title and makes them a perfect 8-0 in OAC Tournament play in their careers.

"Our senior class has been outstanding," said Ridenour. "They have led us the entire season. For them to win four OAC Tournament championships and be a perfect 8-0 shows what an unbelievable impact they have had on this program."