Stony Brook University and University of Hartford will play for the 2011 America East Men's Soccer title after both teams scored second-half goals to earn semifinal wins Wednesday night. The second-seeded Seawolves scored three times after the break and beat sixth-seeded Albany, 3-1, at Lavalle Stadium, while fifth-seeded Hawks upset top-seeded Boston University, 1-0, at Nickerson Field.
Stony Brook (9-6-3), which is 8-3-1 over its last 12 games, dominated the first half, outshooting Albany 10-2 but had nothing to show for it at halftime. That changed in the early moments of the second frame as the Seawolves struck twice in a 40 second span. Leonardo Fernandes, the America East Midfielder of the Year, got the Seawolves on the board in the 47th minute off a cross from Christian Molinar that was misplayed by the Great Danes' goalkeeper Adrian Foncette. Then, in the 48th minute, Fernandes chipped a ball to Antonio Crespi, who beat a defender and Foncette to put his team up 2-0.
The Seawolves, who will be making their second America East championship game appearance in three years and third in seven years, added a third score in the 79th minute, this one from Raphael Abreu, to make it 3-0. Albany (6-10-3, which suffered its first loss in three games, got one back in 80th minute as David Pinto one-time a pass from Quintel Gates into the back of the net, but Stony Brook, who outshot Albany 16-6, held on for the win.
Hartford (8-8-4) and Boston U. (9-9-0) played an even first half with the Terriers outshooting the Hawks 4-3. Hartford had the best scoring chance of the stanza however as David Bernhardsson, a first-team all-conference forward, sent a corner kick into the box and Anthony Santaga headed it towards the net, but Boston U. goalkeeper Nick Thomson, an America East All-Rookie selection, made a sprawling save.
The Terriers outshot the Hawks 10-3 in the second half but couldn't get any shots on net and Hartford took advantage. The Hawks, who have won five straight, broke through in the 56th minute. Damion Lowe created space for himself on the left side and and fed Berhardsson, who took one dribble and set up Antobra Ampadu, an all-rookie choice, who slammed the ball home from 20 yards out and gave his team a 1-0 lead.
America East Rookie of the Year Dominique Badji had two great chances for the regular-season champion Terriers midway through the period, hitting the inside of the right post in the 64th minute and heading a ball of the crossbar in the 66th. Defender of the Year Kelvin Madzongwe had two free kicks as time winded down, one from 20 yards out on the right side and the other from 20 yards out in the middle of the field, but sent both shots high and Hartford held on to advance to the title game for the first time since 1999.
Stony Brook and Hartford will play for the league crown on Sunday at 6 p.m. at LaValle Stadium on Long Island. The game will be streamed for free at AmericaEast.com
2011 America East Men's Soccer Championship
Quarterfinals - Saturday, November 5
No. 6 Albany 3, at No. 3 Vermont 2
No. 5 Hartford 1, at No. 4 UMBC 0
Semifinals - Wednesday, November 9
at No. 2 Stony Brook 3, Albany 2
Hartford 1, at No. 1 Boston U. 0
Final - Sunday, November 13
Hartford at Stony Brook, 6 p.m.