UMBC, Hartford Punch Tickets to #AEMSOC Title Game
UMBC and Hartford will decide the America East men's soccer title after both teams survived overtime semifinal contests Wednesday to advance to the championship game.
The top-seeded Retrievers downed fifth-seeded Albany, 2-1, on Kadeem Dacres’ goal in double overtime to advance to its fourth league title game in five years while third-seeded Hartford tied second-seeded New Hampshire, 1-1, and advanced to the final by winning the penalty kick shootout, 4-3.
The America East title game will be played Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Baltimore. The game can be seen for free at AmericaEast.TV.
In Baltimore, UMBC (15-2-1), the sixth-ranked team in the nation, and Albany (6-11-4) were scoreless at the half. The Great Danes had the better opportunities in the first half as Dominic McGarr's blast in the 18th minute was saved by second-team all-leaguer Phil Saunders and Pomare Te Anau hit the post from 20 yards out moments later.
The Retrievers, who are seeking their third league title and NCAA appearance in four years, took control in the second half, outshooting Albany, 10-3.Jordan Becker gave UMBC a 1-0 lead on a blast from seven yards out 14 minutes into the second half.
It looked like the game would end that way, but McGarr forced overtime by scoring with just 21 seconds left in regulation.
After a scoreless first overtime session, Dacres scored on a rebound in the 106th minute to end the game.
In Durham, both goals were scored in a 51-second span in the first half. New Hampshire (12-5-1) scored first as Byron Greenwood collected a loose ball just outside the box and hit it off the bottom of the cross bar and in to give UNH the 1-0 advantage at 14:08.
Hartford (13-3-4), which extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, got the goal right back, responding just 51 seconds later to even the score at 1-1. Javoni Simms, a first-team all-conference striker, sent a rebound from a Damion Lowe shot into the empty net at 14:59.
The two teams played scoreless soccer the rest of the way, forcing penalty kicks to decide which team advanced to the championship game. After both teams scored their first attempts, Hartford goalkeeper David MacKinnon saved Ugo Uche’s attempt and David Bernhardsson converted his try to give Hartford the 2-1 advantage after two rounds.
Both teams would score in their next two tries before MacKinnon stopped Jesus Tedula’s attempt to seal the title game appearance for the Hawks, their second in three years and sixth in program history.
Coverage for Saturday's championship game begins at 7:25 p.m. on AmericaEast.TV.
Visit America East's Championship Central throughout the tournament for links to in-game coverage, postgame reaction and much more.