PELLA, Iowa — Garrett Pochop turned in his second-straight hat trick to set the school record for goals in a season, leading the Simpson men's soccer team to a wild, 4-3 win over Central in the first round of the Iowa Conference Tournament on Saturday.
Pochop's record-setting 22nd goal of the season came in the 84th minute and ended up being the game-winner as the fifth-seeded Storm (12-7-1) made up for a 1-0 overtime loss to Central in the regular season.
"The fact that we were able to create so many scoring opportunities was certainly one of the positives, but the negative is that you can't concede three goals and win consistently at this level," head coach Rick isaacson said. "We were fortunate to get out of there with a win."
Central had an answer for each of Simpson's first three scores, getting goals from Ian Meentemeyer, Kiel Pederson and Salvador Villanueva. Villanueva tied the score 3-3 in the 78th minute but the fourth-seeded Dutch (11-7) didn't have an answer for Pochop's final tally.
The win sends Simpson on its fourth trip to the Iowa Conference Tournament Semifinals in six seasons under Isaacson, where it will meet a familiar foe. The Storm will travel to Dubuque on Wednesday to face top-seeded Loras, their opponent in each of their last four trips to the tournament semifinals.
"We have some unfinished business," Isaacson said. "The win is encouraging but now we shift our focus to Loras. We know what's ahead of us."
Just days after tallying his first career three-goal game in a 7-2 win over Buena Vista, Pochop had another impressive outing, taking six shots and putting four on goal. He scored in the 12th minute to put Simpson ahead 1-0, scored the go-ahead goal in the 57th to make it 2-1 and closed the gem with the game-winner in the 84th.
Pochop broke a 16-year old school record set by IIAC MVP Fabiano Rivero in 2000, just Simpson's sixth season of intercollegiate soccer.
Simpson travels to Dubuque to face Loras in the IIAC Tournament Semifinals on Wednesday. The top-seeded Duhawks (12-4, 7-1) won the conference regular season title and beat Simpson 3-1 in Indianola on Oct. 22.