CUA falls to Mariners 1-0 in conference championship
WASHINGTON – CUA's quest for a third straight Landmark Conference championship fell short on Saturday, with the Cardinals dropping a heart-breaking 1-0 decision to Merchant Marine Academy. The Mariners received the game-winning score from Cody Kessler in the 58th minute.
The Mariners had an early chance when Kurt Olsen got free for a header, but it went high in only the second minute.
CUA's Earl Hamilton had a header of his own in the tenth minute, but it too went wide.
Kevin Romano's shot at the 13:25 mark sailed wide, while Hamilton's try six minutes later was stopped by USMMA keeper Gary Poulin.
Both teams continued to have their chances as the first half moved along, but neither was able to put anything on the scoreboard.
At the 57:20 mark, Merchant Marine Academy went on top when Kessler scored off a feed from Nick Cuellar.
Seven minutes later CUA's Alex Sagastume looked for the equalizer, but his shot was stopped by Poulin.
At the 67:57 mark Ben Fleri got a shot off for CUA, but again Poulin was there for the save.
With a little over ten to play, Sagastume sent in a corner kick and Mike DiMarco got free for a header, but it was high and the score remained 1-0.
At the 86:03 mark, USMMA was whistled for a foul and CUA's Kevin Romano stepped up for a penalty kick. After making all three of his PKs throughout the season, including one in the tournament semifinals against Susquehanna, Romano missed and the Cardinals still trailed by one.
CUA was able to get off one more shot in the match, which came from Mike Brennan at the 87:17 mark, but it was blocked and two minutes later the Mariners were champions of the Landmark Conference.
CUA held a 26-8 advantage in shots and a 9-1 lead in corner kicks. Torsten Meuschke stopped three shots for CUA in goal, while Poulin sent back eight for the visitors.
CUA will now await word to see if it is selected for the NCAA Tournament. The announcement of this year's field will take place on Monday.