Atlantic Spotlight, Wk 9
By D3soccer.com Contributor
As the second month of play concludes, conference tournaments and post-season pictures are starting to take shape. The Atlantic region remains stacked, with multiple nationally-ranked squads and some that are hitting their stride at the right time. Here are games spotlighted in Week #9:
No. 18 Christopher Newport secures Capital Athletic Conference top spot, No. 13 Mary Washington #2 seed
The Christopher Newport Captains (11-2-3) (8-1-0) picked up two shutouts this week while assuring themselves a bye and a home game in the upcoming CAC tournament. Saturday’s match was the tougher of the two. Traveling to rainy York (Pa.), they allowed the Spartans’ (8-7-2)(4-5-0) offense just five shots on goal in a 1-0 victory. In just the 10th minute, senior Michael Wilson found a high bouncing ball in the box and headed it home for his second of the year. It held as the game winner.
The Mary Washington Eagles also earned a bye and a home game in the CAC tourney. On Wednesday, they allowed only four shots to the Salisbury Sea Gulls, Ben Ahrens put back a rebound in the 28th, and a 2-0 win assured them the #2 seed. On Saturday, in a wild back-and-forth game, the Eagles used a slight shot advantage 25-23 and a late score against the St. Mary’s (Md.) Seahawks to come away with a tie.
No. 5 Johns Hopkins picks up two wins
On Wednesday, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays were down a goal at halftime against the Neumann Knights (4-11-1) (2-3-0). But the Blue Jays stormed out of the break, outshot the Knights 16-3 the rest of the way, and used a freshman’s first career goal to come out on top 2-1.
A nice combination play evened the game in the 55th, when Freshman Alex Whamond ran down a ball at the end line and passed back to senior Conner Jacobs. He centered to junior Liam Creedon, and Creedon ripped one from 30 yards out past Knight goalie Seth Walker.
In the 67th, junior Julio Quintana sent a long ball over the top. Freshman Ben Biggs collected, took a touch, and slotted it under the charging Walker. It was a great time for Biggs’ first career goal, which turned out to be the winner.
The Blue Jays were even 0-0 at the break against the Ursinus Bears (5-8-2)(0-6-1) in Saturday’s game, but they out-shot the Bears 11-4 after the break and junior RJ Moore picked up two assists after setting up soph Jake Kooyman and junior Nate Charendoff. Junior goalie Xander LeFevre made one save for his sixth shutout of the season.
Hampden-Sydney sits atop ODAC
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference has a very unique structure. There are thirteen teams, each team plays eight in-conference games, and nine teams make the end of season tournament. By way of the unbalanced schedule, the Hampden-Sydney Tigers (11-5-1) (6-0-1) avoided the two ODAC teams (No. 12 Washington and Lee, No. 14 Roanoke) currently ranked in the D3soccer.com Top 25.
The Tigers picked up two wins this past week. After dominating the Emory and Henry Wasps (6-9-2)(0-7-0) on Tuesday, they needed to rally to get by the Eastern Mennonite Royals (5-13-0)(0-7-0) on Saturday. After a 1-1 first half, senior Jesus Trejo put the Royals into the lead with a 20-yard free kick in the 51st minute. From that point on it was all Tigers and the constant pressure paid off.
In the 67th minute, Tiger freshman Boyce Purdle intercepted a Royals pass and found senior Cole Burton in the box. Burton calmly finished, and in the 75th minute, a nice no-look heal pass from senior Spell Carr allowed junior Jack Sweeney to two-touch it past Royal goalie Ahmed Zaatar.
With a game to go the Washington and Lee Generals (11-2-3) (5-1-1), Guilford Quakers (7-7-1)(5-2-0), Roanoke Maroons (12-1-3)(4-1-2), and the Lynchburg Hornets (7-4-5)(4-1-2) round out the ODAC top-five.
No. 23 Catholic leads LAND standings
The Catholic Cardinals (15-2-1)(6-0-0) ran off two conference shutouts this past week to earn the LAND tournament #1 seed. They outshot the Goucher Gophers 17-2 en route to a 3-0 win, and they were even more dominant against the Moravian Greyhounds (9-6-1)(3-3-0). The Cardinals outshot them 26-3 and won 6-0. Jack Long didn’t need to make a save in either shutout.
Sophomore Ben Alexander leads with 12 goals, classmate Darius Siahpoosh has contributed eight goals and seven assists, and the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 49-12.
No. 20 Penn State-Behrend gets another streak going.
After a loss two weeks ago snapped their 11-game win streak to start the season, the Penn State-Behrend Lions (16-1-0) (8-1-0) have regained form, and this week picked up their fourth and fifth consecutive wins.
The tougher of this week’s matches was on Wednesday against the Alfred State Pioneers (1-14-0)(1-8-0). The Tigers jumped out to a two-goal halftime lead via senior Nick Schwarzel, who converted a PK in the 22nd, and a nice combination play by soph Matthew Romesberg and freshman Nick Lackey set up freshman Tyler Vandemerwe in the 41st. Matt Warnaka collected three saves in the 3-1 win.
With one game to go, the Tigers sit as the #2 seed in the upcoming Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tournament. The only team to beat the Lions this season, the Medaille Mavericks, are in the top spot.
NJAC has fanned out
With ties in almost 25% of games, the NJAC standings have been bunched for most of the season. This week a bit of separation occurred, and with one game to play, the Ramapo Roadrunners (10-1-5) (5-1-2) are in the best position to get the conference’s #1 seed. Their tie with Montclair State (13-4-1)(5-2-1) is all that separates the top two teams.
The Roadrunners took the conference lead this week with two, 1-goal wins. On Wednesday, visiting the Kean Cougars (5-5-3) (3-2-3), Joe Fala took a through ball from Thiago Stallbaum and beat the keeper 1v1 for his 11th of the year. Joshua Schaffer grabbed four saves in earning the 1-0 shutout.
On Saturday, against previously ranked Rowan Profs (8-4-3) (4-3-1), it was Falla again doing the heavy lifting. His 74th minute tally off a long ball from defender Mark Buckle broke the foul-heavy, scoreless game. Rowan tied it a few minutes later, but in the closing minutes Roadrunner Nick Petrozziello was fouled in the box. Fala converted for his 13th of the year, and Schaffer again grabbed four saves for the win.
Covenant runs the table
The USA South Athletic Conference is mentioned sparingly in this column, but the Covenant Scots’ (16-2-1)(13-0-0) achievement this year is noteworthy. They’ve run the USAC table going 13-0 and have outscored their conference opponents 45-5. They’ve also represented well in non-conference play.
The Scots are led by senior Josh Brower, who has 10 goals and is among the national leaders with 11 assists. Sophomore Mercer Stout has 13 goals, junior Jake Major has eight, and senior Jesse Riggs has five goals and six assists. Senior goalie Paul Lemay is 13-1-1 and tied for the national lead with nine shutouts.
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