MANCHESTER, CT - After downing top-seeded host Eastern Connecticut yesterday, the fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University men's soccer team rallied to edge second-seeded Keene State, 2-1, in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Mansfield Complex. With the thrilling victory, the Colonials claimed their second consecutive Little East Conference tournament crown, improving to 17-3-3 overall while advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The Owls' season came to an end at 13-6.
Senior Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) notched the equalizer with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation before classmate Darion Richeme' (Danbury, CT) tallied the game-winner in the extra session for the Colonials. Sophomore Mikey Sciortino (Shelton, CT) assisted on each goal.
"Words cannot express how proud I am of our players. Keene played incredibly well, but only one team can remain standing at the end. We were fortunate enough to be that team today," said WestConn head coach Joe Mingachos following the breathtaking win. "We seemed happy just to make the NCAA Tournament last year. Hopefully, we can do better this year and make the conference proud," he added.
The Owls outshot the Colonials, 15-12, while also maintaining the advantage in corner kick opportunities, 7-3. However, WestConn sophomore goalkeeper Daniel Szabo (Trumbull, CT) collected seven saves as he improved to 11-1-2 overall. Anthony Pasciuto finished with three and dropped to 9-4 for Keene State.
The Owls struck first when Connor Downey took a feed from Emmanuel Smith and netted his sixth goal of the season, tucking the ball just underneath Szabo and inside the right post in the 36th minute of play. They nearly sealed the win in the 72nd minute. However, Smith's shot clanked off the post.
With the clock winding down, the Colonials finally pierced the scoring column when Allers blasted a low shot inside the far iron, good for his league-leading 24th goal of the year, deadlocking the score at 1-1 with 9:07 left. Allers then had a chance to put things away in regulation but his shot sailed high with under two minutes remaining, setting up overtime.
Downey had the first scoring opportunity in the extra stanza, however, Szabo turned aside the shot at 94:47. Moments later, Sciortino re-entered the game and dished out his second helper, finding Richeme' who slid and put the contest away, sneaking the ball inside the left post.
WestConn will now wait to see whom they square up against when the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced on Monday afternoon.