The Lawrence University men’s soccer team suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of the Ripon College Red Hawks in the second semi-final game of the Midwest Conference Tournament. After being tied after 110 minutes of action, the game was decided in penalty kicks and Ripon pulled away to claim a 4-3 advantage to take the victory. The match was hotly contested from the start and all signs looked as if the first half would draw without a goal from either side. With 1:33 to go, however, senior winger Jared Padway ran down a loose ball in the Red Hawks’ penalty box and neatly punched it past Ripon goalkeeper Adam Haefner. Early in the second half a broken Viking defense was forced into fouling Ripon’s Zach Hershoff, which set up a free kick from roughly 25 yards out. Hershoff directed a well placed ball over freshman ‘keeper Steve Solomon’s arms into the far side netting at 48:05, tying the score 1-1. The Red Hawks threatened just a couple of minutes later off yet another free kick from Hershoff that narrowly sailed over the crossbar. The game was a virtual stalemate for the remainder of the half. Two 10-minute periods of extra time commenced upon the completion of 90 minutes of action, but no goals came, forcing the game into a penalty shootout. Both Lawrence and Ripon connected on all three of their first penalty kicks, Lawrence’s scores coming from sophomores Karl Mayer and David Caprile and junior Stephen Exarhos, but the Vikings missed back-to-back opportunities on their fourth and fifth attempt. Ripon’s Matthew Lange finished his kick to snatch the victory with a 4-3 advantage in penalties. The Vikings lost a devastating showdown, ending their season and all hopes of making the NCAA tournament. Ripon College went on to face Carroll University Saturday in the conference championship game, but were defeated by the Pioneers who earned a berth into the national tournament. Lawrence will lose a very strong core of eight seniors, five of whom were regular starters. The seniors led a team projected to finish eighth in the 10-team conference up to a very respectable fourth and a winning 9-7-2 overall record.