High-Scoring Affair, Scoreless Draw Result in SBU, UNH Advancing to Men's Soccer Semis
Saturday's America East men's soccer quarterfinals produced two drastically different games, a shootout that set a single-game tournament record with nine goals and saw Stony Brook post a comeback overtime win, and a defensive battle that resulted in New Hampshire advancing in a shootout. Stony Brook overcame a late deficit with three unanswered goals in the 25 minutes to beat Binghamton, 5-4 in overtime, at LaValle Stadium Saturday afternoon, while New Hampshire and Albany played to a scoreless tie before the Wildcats edged the Great Danes, 5-4, in penalty kicks to advance.
The Seawolves and Wildcats both advanced to Wednesdays semifinals when they'll play at UMBC and Vermont, respectively, for trips to the conference title game on the line. Stony Brook.
In the first semifinal of the day, Stony Brook (11-5-1) scored twice in the final 16 minutes of play to tie the game, setting the stage for Will Casey's game-winning overtime goal in the 99th minute to send the Seawolves to the semifinals.
The Seawolves, who are in pursuit of their second straight America East title and third in four years, struck first on Raphael Abreu's score off Alejandro Fritz's feed in the 10th minute. Binghamton (6-11-2) quickly responded, tying the game on an Adam Whitehead blast from 32-yards out that beat Stony Brook keeper Stefan Manz into the upper-right corner in the 15th minute.
The back-and-forth action continued, as the Seawolves took a 2-1 lead when Fritz, who tied a single-game tournament record with five points, blasted a right-footed shot from a yard outside the box into the net at the far right post in the 26th minute.
Binghamton came out aggressively in the second half, jumping on the Seawolves with two goals in the first 17 minutes, one by first-team all-conference choice Jake Keegan in the 49th minute and another by Steven Celeste in the 62nd, to take a 4-2 lead.
But the Seawolves stayed mentally tough, cutting the deficit to 4-3 in the 74th minute on Leonardo Fernandes' goal. The Seawolves tied the game in dramatic fashion, as Fritz, who had two goals and an assist on the day, was able to find the ball in a scramble in the box, finishing into the top of the net with less than 50 seconds remaining in the game. In overtime, it was Fernandes, the America East Midfielder of the Year, who set up Casey for the game winner.
The nine combined goals broke the previous tournament record of seven set back in 2001.
In the second game, UNH (6-7-5) held Albany (6-12-0) without a shot on goal in 110 minutes and won the penalty kick shootout, 5-4 in the sixth round, to advance to the semifinals for the third time in four years.
The Wildcats, who have recorded four straight shutouts in America East Championship play dating back to 2010, outshot the Great Danes, 3-1, in the first half and had the best scoring chance of the period. Jordon Bronner put a header on net with just 1:57 left in the period, but Albany's Tim Allen made the first of his three saves to keep the game scoreless.
UNH, which is unbeaten in four of its last five games, outshot Albany, 6-3, in the second half and had two good opportunities. Jordan Thomas, a first-team all-conference defender, put a head on net in the 73rd minute and Ugo Uche fired a shot the reach Allen in the 78th, but the America East All-Rookie choice stopped both shots.
Neither team recorded a shot in either overtime period, setting up penalty kicks. Jeff Pierre missed his first attempt for Albany, but Brandon Wilson, Chris Nisser and Anthony Rozzano all followed with conversions. Thomas made UNH's first attempt, but Jeff Turner missed the second, tying things 2-2. Lukas Goerigk, Ryan McNabb and Alex Hussein hit the next three, setting up sudden death.
It would only take one more round as Albany's Pomare Te Anau missed his try and Robbie Palumbo converted for UNH to end it.
Both semifinal games are Wednesday, Nov. 7. UNH will play at top-seeded Vermont at 1 p.m. while Stony Brook will travel to face second-seeded UMBC at 7 p.m.
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