Bounced! Conference Teams Suffer NCAA Defeats

Ugo Okolie, Franklin & Marshall
Ugo Okolie, Franklin & Marshall

LANCASTER, Pa. - A frenzied effort to force overtime in the final minutes of regulation came up short in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss for Franklin & Marshall's No. 17 ranked men's soccer team against Eastern in the NCAA Second Round on Sunday. 

Another remarkable Diplomat season drew to a close with a 14-4-3 record while the Eagles move on to the Sweet 16 with an 18-2-2 overall mark. 

F&M's offense controlled the pace of play from the onset of the first half but Eastern managed to strike first with a ninth-minute marker for the 1-0 edge. Billy Walenda set up the play with

a low pass to the center of the box where Sam Sutherland finished with a left-footed strike to the inside of the left post.

Possession was dominated by the Diplomats from there but the Eagles' defense stymied the attack with clutch saves and key clearances in the opening frame. Heading into the halftime break, F&M led in shots by a 10-7 margin, as well as corners at 2-0.

In the second, the Diplomats continued their attack in the offensive third with a barrage of scoring chances. An A.J. Kopacz free kick at midfield in the 64th minute nearly evened the score, but Eastern's goalkeeper stormed off his line and won the ball in the air.

With 10 minutes remaining, Ugo Okolie and Alex Lalovic nearly connected for a highlight-reel tally when Okolie lofted a short pass that was headed just wide by Lalovic in the box.

F&M continued its relentless attack in the late stages of the period. 

A header in the box from Okolie with two minutes remaining on the clock sailed just to the left of the post. Seconds later, Alex Lalovic had a golden attempt from 12 yards out, but his low shot was scooped up by the Eastern goalkeeper as time ran out before the Diplomats could answer with an equalizer. 

The overall shot count was in F&M's favor at 19-9, including a 9-2 edge in the second half. Corners were closer at 4-2 for the Diplomats. Lalovic led the way with five shots, while Connor Whitacre was next with three. 

Christopher Amoruso (7-4-3) was stellar in net with four stops, while Eastern's Anthony Hitchcock (14-0-1) earned the win with five saves.

The Basics 
• Score: #1 Messiah-2, #25 Johns Hopkins-0
• Records: JHU (13-5-2) • MC (17-0-3)
• Location: Grantham, PA • Shoemaker Field
• The Short Story: Top-ranked Messiah scored once in each half and held 25th-ranked Johns Hopkins off the board as the Falcons topped the Blue Jays, 2-0, in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Sunday afternoon.
How it Happened
• The Blue Jays controlled play early in the game and produced three of the first four shots in the game and the first corner kick, but the Falcons kept the sheet clean as the game drifted past the 20-minute mark.
• It would be a double header that would get the Falcons on the board in the 23rd minute as senior Nick West scored the first of his two goals in the game.  Junior Brit Haseltine headed the ball forward in the box and West headed it down and just inside the post past Blue Jay goalie Xander LeFevre.
•  The 1-0 score held through halftime and into the 51st minute before West gave the Falcons the breathing room they needed.  He dribbled past a defender and worked his way past LeFevre to score his 26th goal of the season.
•  Johns Hopkins, which held a 9-7 advantage in shots on the day, produced several dangerous situations in the final 35 minutes, including a Liam Creedon rip from 20 yards out that handcuffed Messiah goalie Connor Bell, but the Blue Jays couldn't put one home as the Falcon defense tightened down the stretch when the Blue Jays penetrated the final third to keep them off the board.
What it Means
• Johns Hopkins is now 17-15-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Blue Jays have advanced to at least the second round of the tournament in all five of their appearances under head coach Craig Appleby.
Inside the Box Score
• LeFevre finished with two saves in the loss for the Blue Jays while Bell made four for the Falcons.
• While there were plenty of scoring chances, statistically the game saw just the 16 shots and two corner kicks, which were evenly split at 1-1.

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Haverford College men's soccer team was eliminated in penalty kicks from the NCAA Tournament after playing to a 1-1 draw during the regulation and overtime periods. The Fords (14-4-1) even needed extra penalty kicks against New York University (12-4-2) before the Violets emerged a 5-4 winner during the seventh round of PKs.

With today's result, New York University advanced to Sunday's second round match against Montclair State University. The host Red Hawks (17-1-3) advanced to the second round with a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks after playing Colby to a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes of match action.

Both teams went scoreless into the half after each side recorded seven shots during the first 45 minutes. Haverford had the best chance of the first half as Peter Baroff found himself with possession inside of the box just over 18 minutes into the contest. The Violets put five of their seven first half shots on goal, but keeper Michael Iacono was up to the test each time.

Max Krieg added to his big game legacy as he opened the scoring during the 53rd minute of match action. Krieg scored his fourth career goal just over seven minutes after the break. He gathered the possession and created just enough space from 25 yards out to beat the NYU goalie to the far post.

Nevertheless, NYU would tie the game with 2:04 remaining in regulation as Sergio Monton scored his fourth goal of the season. On a night where Iacono was outstanding as he made a career-high 11 saves, a deflection off of that shot spun the ball away for the Fords' keeper and into the back of the net.

Iacono was called on to make two saves during the first overtime period and the Fords held the better of the chances in the second. NYU goalie Grant Engel was called on to make three saves during the second overtime session, including a couple of nice saves on close range shots from Baroff. Those saves ultimately kept the match level after 110 minutes of soccer.

In the shootout, the Fords and Violets went shot for shot during the first six rounds. Michael Iacono saved the first and fifth attempts of NYU, while Nick JannelliMichael Carr, and Ben Clark all converted their chances for the Fords in the second through fourth rounds. The Fords had a chance to advance with second takes in the fifth, but just missed slotting a shot under the crossbar. Nick John kept the match alive with his make in the sixth, but a save from the NYU goalie during the seventh round ultimately gave the tournament advancement to the Violets.