Atlantic Spotlight, Wk 10
By D3soccer.com Contributor
There’re good reasons why they’re the #1 seeds. In all seven conferences tournaments reported here the #1 seeds came out on top.
MAC Commonwealth: Messiah scores once, wins twice
The No. 1 Messiah Falcons (16-0-3 / 8-0-0) put constant pressure on the Lycoming Warriors (15-3-2 / 6-2-0) for 110 minutes in the Commonwealth Conference final on Sunday. The Falcons outshot the Warriors 24-3 and got more dominant as the game wore on. But Warrior senior keeper Chris Solecki was up to the challenge grabbing 10 saves and keeping the Falcons off the board.
The deadlock meant a shootout for the Conference title and automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Falcon senior goalie Conner Bell hadn’t really been tested on the day, but he came up big when it mattered most. He made a nice diving right save on the Warriors` third attempt to set up the 4-1 shootout win.
In the semifinal earlier in the week against Stevenson (11-8-1 / 4-3-1) the Falcons also faced very determined goalie. Mustang freshman Matt Stellitano saw his team out shot 24-8, he grabbed 7 saves, and only a stunner from 22 yards out by freshman Luke Groothoff in the 69th minute got by him.
ODAC: Generals in charge
Coming into Sunday`s ODAC final, top seed and Championship Weekend host Generals of Washington and Lee (14-3-1 / 9-0-1) had won 8 in a row and were unbeaten in 13 straight. The Bridgewater (Va.) Eagles (11-7-1 / 6-3-1) held the Generals scoreless through the break but 3 goals in a 13-minute span gave the Generals their first conference title since 2015.
Viktor Delbert fueled the quick three-goal lead scoring the first goal and assisting on the next two. Michael Nyc grabbed three saves to secure the shutout.
In Saturday`s first semifinal, the Roanoke Maroons (10-5-3 / 5-2-3) came in on a bit of a roll themselves. In the last nine matches their only loss was a 1-0 defeat when they hosted the Generals back on October 20th. Its the Generals` streaks that continued as senior Dylan Ritch led with two goals and an assist and freshman keeper Nyc pitched the shutout in a 4-0 win.
The No. 10 Lynchburg Hornets (13-2-2 / 8-1-1) came into the other semifinal to face the Eagles, the only team to beat them this season. In their only loss the Hornets had the better run of play but were upended 2-0. It was the same story Saturday. The Hornets out shot the Eagles 24-5, put more on goal 9-1, and out-cornered them 9-0 but never found the net. Junior Leo Alcantara`s 11th minute free kick was all the Eagles needed in advancing to their first conference final.
CAC: Mary Washington`s defensive line leads the way
The No. 15 Mary Washington Eagles (14-1-4 / 5-1-1) withstood a furious barrage over the final 25 minutes from the St. Mary’s (Md.) Seahawks (12-4-4 / 4-2-1) for a 1-0 victory and the Capital Athletic Conference crown.
As has seemed to happen in most Eagle`s matches this season they were led by senior midfielder Ryan Van Maanen and sophomore goalkeeper Ken Kurtz. Van Vaanen`s 59th minute tally was the game winner and Kurtz made 7 saves (6 in the final 25 minutes) in recording his 13th clean sheet of the season.
In the Wednesday semifinal against the Bobcats of Frostburg State (7-8-4 / 3-2-2) the Eagles defense and Kurtz again did the heavy lifting. Despite outshooting the Bobcats 20-4 the chippy match (36 fouls combined) remained scoreless through 110 minutes. Kurtz stopped the 2nd and 3rd Bobcat pk attempts while his teammates went 4-for-4 to punch their way to the final.
In the other semifinal St. Mary`s (Md.) had the better of play for most of the match against Salisbury (11-4-3 / 4-2-1). The Eagles earned their way into the final in the 64th minute via a long throw-in from senior defender Pascal Iraola to junior defender Andrew Kalinoski`s head which he delivered just inside the near post. Junior keeper Patrick Paolini had five saves in the winning effort.
NJAC: Montclair cancels Fala, dismantles Ramapo
On Friday the No. 11 Montclair State Red Hawks (17-1-2 / 8-0-1) had five different scorers and held Joe Fala in check as they drove through the Ramapo Roadrunners (15-3-2 / 6-2-1) 5-0 in taking the NJAC crown. Fala, the national scoring leader, couldn’t get a shot on goal in a contest that was close through the half but saw the Red Hawks firing on all cylinders to pull away.
Junior Colin Mulligan started the scoring in the 30th minute by winning a ball just outside the box and taking a strike from 22 yards out. It might have glanced off a defender in getting by Roadrunner keeper Joshua Schaffer. That’s how the teams went into halftime.
In the first minute of the second half Jose Huerta took a long ball at the top of the box, deftly passed to himself over an on-rushing Schaffer and rolled into the open net for his 13th of the year. Damian Kolodziej, Rafael Terci, and Chaz Burnett each tallied the rest of the way.
Montclair is unbeaten in 15 straight, are atop the South Atlantic region rankings, and should find a very favorable NCAA tourney spot as the NJAC automatic qualifier. The Roadrunners are having the finest season in the school`s history and accomplished enough for a Pool C invite.
Centennial Conference: Haverford: Do you believe in us now?
Can the Haverford Fords (14-4-0 / 8-1-0) please get some respect? They haven’t once this year appeared in either the D3soccer.com or the United Soccer Coaches weekly rankings. Yet ever since an overtime loss at the feet of Franklin & Marshall (13-3-3 / 5-1-3) back on September 22nd, they’ve quietly won and won and won – 11 in a row to be exact. On Sunday, against the No. 22 Diplomats, junior Nick Janelli provided the overtime stunner to claim the Centennial Conference crown and automatic NCAA bid.
Both teams came out firing and finding the net. It was 2-2 after 25 minutes with Janelli picking up two assists before waiting another 77 minutes to deliver the game winner.
In a back-and-forth semifinal on Saturday against the Dickinson Red Devils (11-6-2 / 5-3-1) junior Peter Baroff juked a defender at the base line and beat the goalie for the only score of the day. Michael Iacono had two saves to back the solid Fords` back line.
Landmark Conference: Not much separates Elizabethtown from Catholic
Last week in the final regular season game for each squad the Elizabethtown Blue Jays (10-4-4 / 5-0-2) and the Catholic Cardinals (11-6-1 / 5-1-1) battled to a nil-nil draw. In Sunday`s Landmark Conference championship the stalemate continued through another 63 minutes. That’s when sophomore defender Clark Williamson headed in a corner serve from senior Danny Sullivan sending the Blue Jays to their first ever Landmark Conference title. They had painfully been runner-up each of the last three seasons.
Earlier in the week the Blue Jays found themselves down 1-0 in the first minute of their semifinal against the Moravian Greyhounds (7-9-1 / 4-3-0) and had to battle back. Blue Jay leading scorer Gilbert Waso tied in the 33rd but the heroics came from an unexpected source in this one. Junior defender Will Connolly, who had only taken 8 shots in his previous 40 games played, worked a perfect give-and-go with junior JD Half in the 69th minute and finished the first goal of his career.
In the other semifinal Cardinal sophomore goalie Jake Long kept his team in the match with 12 saves to spearhead a 2-1 victory over Drew (11-6-0 / 5-2-0).
MAC Freedom: Take notice of Eastern
In a very, very windy Freedom Conference final the Eastern Eagles (17-2-1 / 7-0-0) used it to their advantage in the first minute of play. Junior Billy Walenda`s wind-aided long throw into the box led to junior Cade Harmon`s seventh goal of the season and proved to be the game winner in the 3-0 triumph over the King's Monarchs (11-6-2 / 5-2-0).
The Eagles have won an impressive 12 in a row and are unbeaten in 16 straight.
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