DANBURY, CT - With three seconds remaining in the first overtime, senior forward Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) scored the game-winning goal to lift the Western Connecticut State University men's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over visiting Castleton University in the quarterfinals of the Little East Conference Tournament at Westside Athletic Complex on Tuesday night.
The Colonials, now 15-3-3, advance to the semifinals and will play top seed and host of the final four, Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday, November 3. Game time in Willimantic is set for 11 am. UMass Boston, which defeated University of Southern Maine, 4-1 in the other quarterfinal match, will face #2 seed Keene State College on Saturday, at ECSU, at 1:30 pm. Game time for the championship game on Sunday, November 4 will be determined soon.
Earlier this season, WestConn and the Spartans battled to a 2-2 overtime tie in Burlington, VT.
On the night, the Colonials nearly doubled the attempts at goal, outshooting Castleton, 30-16, commonplace to the defending LEC Tournament Champions as they have not taken 432 goal-scoring attempts to their counterparts 237. WestConn also finished with a convincing 9-3 advantage on corner kicks, including three in the extra frame.
"Finally we were on the good side of a late goal," joked WestConn head coach Joe Mingachos. "Too many times this season we have had that happen to us. Tonight we put the pressure on for 100 minutes and it paid off. Now we move on and it won't get any easier this weekend."
Sophomore goalie Daniel Szabo (Trumbull, CT) improves to 9-1-2 on the season after making seven saves. He made a brilliant save in the 42nd minute when Seraphin Iradukunda (Burlington, VT) blasted a shot toward the top of the goal, but Szabo was able to deflect it over the crossbar. With 9:37 remaining in regulation, Abinash Rai (Burlington, VT) had a chance to win it for the Spartans, but his attempt, despite weaving through a couple WestConn defenders, was gathered in by Szabo.
Ryan McKay (Mendon, VT) made seven saves for Castleton, which finishes its first campaign in the Little East Conference with a 9-9-1 overall record.
NOTE: The 15 wins for the Colonials is the most in a season since they went 15-1-3 and were ranked 17th in the nation back in 1994. Last season, just the second under Mingachos, WestConn went 14-7-1 and returned to the NCAA Tournament after a 12-year hiatus.