LANCASTER, PA - Seventeenth ranked Franklin & Marshall College advances to the second round of 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championships with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Western Connecticut State University at Tylus Field on Saturday night.
The game-winning goal was credited as an own-goal after Steven Yakita (Andover, MA) lofted a free kick into the box. The ball clearly deflected off a Colonials' defender and into the back of the net with 2:01 elapsed in the second overtime period.
Reality and disbelief set in quickly for WestConn as it's season, the best since they went 17-3-3 in 1992, had come to a close. The Colonials finished with a 17-4-3 record and captured their second-straight Little East Conference title.
"What and exciting game tonight," stated WestConn head coach Joe Mingachos. "I am very proud of how this team performed tonight. They went toe to toe with one of the best teams in the nation, on its home turf. We have nothing to be ashamed about. I hope WestConn earned some respect after this game."
It was Reyes' third goal of the season. Sciortino had the opportunity to let the ball round past the end line to set up a WestConn corner kick, yet noticed Reyes running toward the face of the goal.
Shortly after coming on together with under 20 minutes remaining in the first half, Robert Maze (Dover, PA) and Alex Lalovic (Lititz PA) combined for the game's first goal. Lalovic led Maze through the middle of the 18-yard box and he deposited his third goal of the season.
The Diplomats outshot the Colonials, 11-6 over the first 45 minutes. WestConn's two attempts at goal came in succession when Ricardo Rodriguez (Danbury, CT) hit the post and Sciortino's follow-up attempt was whisked away by a Franklin & Marshall defender. Defender Spencer Ranno (Sherman, CT) had a quality attempts in the closing third of the first stanza.
Although WestConn's defense were challenged throughout the first half, its offense broke free on several occasions as sophomore goalie Daniel Szabo (Trumbull, CT) was able to boot the ball well up field, as the wind was at his back throughout the period.
Sciortino had the Colonials' best opportunity in the second half. He broke free and delivered a sharp attempt that was corralled by junior goalie Christopher Amoruso (Greenlawn, NY) as it approaced the top 90 on the left side of the Diplomat's goal.
Harrison Allers (Wilton, CT) nearly tied the game after his shot inside the Colonials box was saved by Amoruso off his line, as he was blinded by his own defense, but able to pick the ball up at the last moment.
In the first overtime, Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) had a pair of quality chances including a penetrating bender that Amoruso got his left and on. The ball then deflected off the outside of the right post, narrowly sending the home crown home disappointed. Again, with 21 seconds left in the first extra frame, Chauncey Allers' header caromed off the Diplomats crossbar.
F&M had its best shot in the first overtime with 50 seconds remaining. Connor Whitacre (Lancaster, PA) was left one-on-one against Szabo. His attempt was saved and gathered in by the sophomore netminder.
WestConn finished with a 7-2 advantage in shot attempts in the first overtime.
Amoruso finished with 11 saves on the night.
Szabo finsihed with seven saves, only two of those being necessary over the final 56 minutes.
NOTE: The Colonials men's soccer program is now 37-22-5 and has two LEC titles since Mingachos took over the helm in 2016. In 19 seasons as the women's soccer head coach, his teams went 298-90-28 and made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.