Pochop plants himself into the record books


Junior Garrett Pochop now holds the record of most goals scored in a season (22). Pochop and the men’s soccer team head to Loras on Wednesday for the IIAC semifinal tournament match. (Photo: Jayde Vogeler, Photography Editor/The Simpsonian)

by Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Going into the first round of the Iowa Conference Tournament versus Central, junior center forward Garrett Pochop’s only focus was defeating the Dutch and avenging a 1-0 overtime loss in the regular season.

There was no thought of breaking a school record.

As Pochop took the pitch Saturday, survive and advance was the only thing on his mind. But the Pierre, South Dakota, native accomplished much more than a win in the IIAC Tournament, he broke a 16-year-old school record for goals in a season when he chipped the ball over the keeper in the 84th minute to seal a Storm victory.

“Going into the Central game, I knew what it (the record) was, but it really wasn’t on my radar,” Pochop said. “I was more concerned with coming away with a win and moving on.”

Pochop entered the game with 19 goals on the season and left the pitch with 22, breaking 2000 IIAC MVP Fabiano Rivero’s mark of 21. His 22 goals this season put him first in the IIAC in that category, three more than Gonzalo Hernandez, of the University of Dubuque, who is second in the IIAC with 19 goals and 11 more than Miguel Pena, who sits third.

A position change in this offseason was able to spark Pochop’s scoring outburst. The junior played midfield the past two seasons and scored 10 goals combined — three as a freshman, seven as a sophomore — before switching to a more attacking role.

“Going into this year, Coach Isaacson switched stuff up and told me I was going to play up top. We kind of game planned that all offseason, so going into the season I wasn’t sure how that was going to shape up,” Pochop said. “A lot of credit has to be given to the entire coaching staff and the rest of the team for that all coming together and working out.”

Pochop didn’t realize the importance of what he had done. Relief was the feeling, not elation.

“I guess, maybe subconsciously, I knew that it had happened, but it was more of a relief,” Pochop said. “We gave up three different leads that game, so to get that final go-ahead goal, was just kind of a relief for all of us.”

The humble junior credits his teammates and coaches for putting him a position to succeed.

“It’s definitely exciting. I got a lot of support around campus, and it’s cool. But it’s really a team record,” Pochop said. “Definitely wouldn’t have done it without the coaching staff putting me in the positions I was and the team coming together. My name will be the one that goes down, but really it’s the entire team.”