November 28, 2011

A look back: 1981 Men's Soccer Final Four

High profile assassination attempts and weddings marked a year that saw the personal computer and MTV eras launched as well as the first space shuttle

Official program of the 1981 Final Four Click image to open full program (pdf).

Before students began returning to college campuses in late August, 1981 had already been a monumental year. President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office which set in motion many changes domestically and internationally, starting with Iran's release of 52 U.S. hostages on the same day as the inauguration. Colombian guerillas had murdered American missionary Chet Bitterman, John Hinkley, Jr. had shot President Reagan, and a Turkish terrorist shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in Vatican City. Space travel took a jump forward with the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia which would orbit the earth 36 times in 54.5 hours before landing. Prince Charles and Lady Diana married, Fernandomania swept baseball off its feet before a labor strike ground it to a halt, John McEnroe made the phrase "you cannot be serious" famous en route to winning his first Wimbledon title, and MTV launched at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1 with Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles.

As college soccer players packed their bags to return to campus singing along to Rick Springfield's Jesse's Girl, the U.S. Navy shot down two Libyan fighter planes that attacked a U.S. aircraft carrier that they claimed was in its territory. Students returned to their dormitories, many having just bought Foreigner's 4 on vinyl or cassette tape, as the Diana Ross and Lionel Richie hit duet Endless Love was topping the pop charts. Glassboro St. and Ohio Wesleyan charged out to 7-0 starts, while Judge Wapner and The People's Court debuted and Sugar Ray Leonard defeated Thomas "Hitman" Hearns in the richest sports event in history. Students who hadn't seen Raiders of the Lost Ark over the summer, were finding a way to the movie theaters to catch the year's biggest box office hit. As summer gave way to fall and the regular season passed the midway point, IBM began rolling out the first mass produced and sold personal computers (PC's) and Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female Supreme Court justice. The Fall Guy premiered on ABC and a group called Islamic Jihad assassinated Egyptian president Sadat for trying to westernize the country while college campuses swelled with alumni for Homecoming festivities. The Dodgers completed their comeback against the Yankees to win the World Series four games to two and the second season of the emerging hit TV show Hill Street Blues kicked off while teams had their last chance to make their case for an invite to the NCAA tournament.

Complaints were the order of the day when the U.S. Postal Service raised the first-class letter rate to 20 cents and several Top 25 teams did not get the coveted call from the NCAA selection committee. Heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes survived being knocked to the canvas by Renaldo Snipes but defending champion Babson did not fare so well against Brandeis in their first round tournament match. A couple thousand fans watched Glassboro St. and Scranton book their places in the Final Four with quarterfinal wins, and days later 16 million watched Luke marry Laura on General Hospital. And on Nov. 21, Division III men's soccer had a new champion and the music charts had a new No. 1: Olivia Newton-John's controversial and suggestive Physical.

1981 Conference Champions (and other tournament invitees)

* - tournament participant | pre-tournament record shown in paratheses

City University of New York Athletic Conference:  Brooklyn* (11-1-2)  (conference existed informally only)

Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference:  UNC-Greensboro* (15-1-1)  (also Averett* (13-2-1))

Independent College Athletic Conference:  St. Lawrence* (10-4-1)

Illinois-Indiana Collegiate Soccer Conference:  MacMurray* (10-5-2)

Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference:  Salem St.* (16-1-1)

Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association:  Calvin* (11-4-1)

Middle Atlantic States Athletic Conference:  Scranton* (11-5-1)  (also Franklin & Marshall* (10-3-1),  Elizabethtown* (11-7-1))

Midwest Conference:  Lake Forest (10-2-2)

Midwest Metropolitan Soccer Conference:  Wheaton (Ill.)* (12-6-1) (first year of new conference)

Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference:  Bethel (15-1-2) (their first and only conference title)

New Jersey State Athletic Conference:  Glassboro St.* (14-1-3)  (also Trenton St.* (7-3-3))

Northern Illinois-Iowa Intercollegiate Conference:  Rockford (11-6-0)

Ohio Athletic Conference:  Ohio Wesleyan* (13-2-4)  (also Denison* (11-5-1))

Old Dominion Athletic Conference:  Lynchburg (10-10-0)

Presidents Athletic Conference:  Bethany (WV)* (8-5-0)

State University of New York Athletic Conference:  Cortland St.* (11-0-3)  (also Plattsburgh St.* (11-3-0))

Independents:  Babson* (9-3-3), Brandeis* (14-1-1),  Coast Guard* (10-3-0),  Colorado Col.* (15-3-1),  Frostburg St.* (6-3-3),  Washington U.* (12-6-1)

Note: Glassboro St. now named Rowan and Trenton St. now named TCNJ.

1981 Division III Tournament

In 1981 the Division III men's tournament continued with the 24-team field introduced a year earlier, but new was the four-team first and second round weekend regionals which returned the tournament to a 3-week schedule as had been the case prior to the expanded field. Hitherto only the Final Four grouped four teams at one site for two rounds of games, with all prior rounds taking place between pairs of teams on successive weekends. The regionals with a 24-team field created the oddity of two byes in the third round (quarterfi-nals) with two regional victors advanced directly to the Final Four. The advantage of changing to this model despite that oddity was that more of the traveling would be done in the first two rounds when the distances between opponents are less, cutting out two quarterfinal trips that were of significantly greater distance and thus cost.

All participants were selected on an at-large basis and numerous conference champions were not invited. Four teams were invited from each of the following six regions: New England, New York, New Jersey/South, Pennsylvania/Maryland, Great Lakes, Midwest/Far West. The quarterfinal byes were scheduled to rotate from year to year with New England and Great Lakes regions getting a free pass to the Final Four in 1981. This 24-team, 6-region format would stay in place until 1990 when the field expanded to 32 teams and eight regions; however, the six geographic regions would be realigned in 1984.

Babson was the two-time defending champion but not really a favorite this time.  Favorites included undefeated Cortland St. who won the SUNYAC, Dixie champion UNC-Greensboro who were riding a 10-game win streak, Ohio Wesleyan who won their third straight OAC title and was undefeated against D-III competition, NJSAC champion Glassboro St. who had been to the previous two Final Fours, and top five ranked independent Brandeis.

First Round:  Cortland St. 5, Brooklyn 1 | St. Lawrence 3, Plattsburgh St. 2 (ot) | UNC-Greensboro 1, Trenton St. 0 | Glassboro St. 1, Averett 0 (ot) | Brandeis 1, Babson 0 | Salem St. 1, Coast Guard 0 | Scranton 4, Elizabethtown 1 | Franklin & Marshall 1, Frostburg St. 0 | Wheaton (Ill.) 1, Colorado Col. 0 | Washington U. 1, MacMurray 0 | Ohio Wesleyan 4, Calvin 2 | Bethany (WV) 4, Denison 2

Second Round:  Cortland St. 4, St. Lawrence 1 | Glassboro St. 3, UNC-Greensboro 0 | Brandeis 2, Salem St. 0 | Scranton 2, Franklin & Marshall 1 (ot) | Wheaton (Ill.) 2, Washington U. 1 (4 ot, pk's) | Ohio Wesleyan 3, Bethany (WV) 2

Third Round:  Glassboro St. 1, Cortland St. 0 (ot) | Scranton 1, Wheaton (Ill.) 0 | Byes: Brandeis and Ohio Wesleyan

1981 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Final Four

November 20-21, Elizabethtown College (Elizabethtown, Pa.)

1981 would mark the last time for years the Final Four would be hosted by a school not participating in the Final Four, something that had been the case in the very first Division III Final Four hosted by Wheaton (Ill.) and in 1978 and 1979. It was the second time Elizabethtown had hosted the Final Four, doing so as semifinalists in the third-ever Division III Final Four. It would also be the last time that a third place consolation games would be played, a decision probably welcomed by many a player who struggled to put in a honest performance 24 hours after the emotional disappointment of a semifinal loss that dashed dreams of a national title.

In the first seven years of the Division III tournament only one team west of Pennsylvania had reached the final—Washington U. in 1976—and none had become champions. Ohio Wesleyan would try to change that statistic as they faced Scranton in the second semifinal with Glassboro St. and Brandeis meeting in the first semifinal in a clash of the top two ranked teams in the nation. By playing at Elizabethtown, Brandeis was returning with fond memories to the site of their Final Four triumph and national championship in 1976.

Glassboro State College Profs

Head Coach: Dan Gilmore, 6th season (85-21-10, .776 entering the Final Four)

Record (entering Final Four): 17-1-3 (.881) | 59 GS (2.81 gpg), 7 GA (0.33 gpg)

Path to Final Four Averett W1-0 (ot); UNC-Greensboro W3-0; Cortland St. W1-0 (ot)

Prior NCAA Appearances (3):  1978, 1979 (Runners-Up), 1980 (Final Four)

Prior NCAA Record (1978-80):  4-3-0 (.571)

Key Players*:  Tim Dempsey (Sr.) M - 6g, 5a (D-III Player of the Year, 1st Team All-American, 1st Team All-Region, NJSAC POY)  | Jeff Weiboldt (Sr.) D (1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-NJSAC)  | Scott Salisbury (Sr.) F - 13g, 6a (2nd Team All-Region, 2nd Team All-NJSAC)  | Tony O'Connor (Sr.) F/M - 9g, 9a (3rd Team All-Region, 1st Team All-NJSAC)  | Walt Gotrell (Sr.) GK (2nd Team All-NJSAC)  | Robbie Bechtloff (Jr.) D (2nd Team All-AJSAC)  | Bobby Wilder (Sr.) M  | Garfield Francis (Jr.) F - 7g, 7a  (* - tournament statistics and post-season honors included)

1981 Glassboro St. men's soccer team from the official 1981 Final Four program

After two straight trips to the Final Four, reaching the title game in 1979, Glassboro St. had established itself as one the top D-III teams nationwide under the guidance of 6th-year head coach Dan Gilmore. With most of the squad back, including their three All-Region honorees, the goal for this loaded team in 1981 was the national title. And besides one out-of-character loss to Widener, the Profs lived up to expectations with a dominating regular season that included winning the NJSAC title for the third straight year.

Senior midfielder Tim Dempsey was having the type of year that not only got him named conference player of the year for the third straight time, but would even garner him a spot on the first-ever Division III All-American first team from which he received Division III's inaugural Player of the Year award. But he was not alone on what was probably the best Rowan squad before or since. Six seniors formed the nucleus of the team joined by five juniors in the starting line-up, making Glassboro St. perhaps the most experienced team in the nation even without their leading scoring from the previous year, Pat LaCroix, who missed the season before returning to play in 1982. In La Croix's absence, senior forward Scott Salisbury, the 1979 tournament MVP, would lead with 13 goals while senior Tony O'Connor, a Korean with the birth name Yong Sung who came to the United States as a young teenager, had been asked to adapt his game and spend some time on the front line after leading the team in assists (15) from his midfield position in 1980. Together with Garfield Francis' 7 goals, his 9 tallies gave the Profs a balanced attack while he again led in assists with 9. Thirty years later the four aforementioned senior attackers are still among the program's top twenty all-time scoring leaders. In the back senior Jeff Weiboldt anchored the back line while senior Walt Gotrell protected the goal to produce an incredible 0.33 goals against per game. Gotrell was in the process of setting school's new single-season and career shutout records (15 and 43) and career wins record (55), all which still stand thirty years later.

Glassboro St. were not given an easy path to their third straight Final Four, having to play on the road against three Top 10 teams. Conference rivals Trenton St. hosted the New Jersey/South regional where Glassboro would face two Dixie conference opponents. In a rematch of their 2nd round match from the previous year won by Glassboro 5-1, the Profs would need overtime this time to slip past Averett 1-0 in the first round before hanging three goals on UNC-Greensboro who was one year away from dominating Division III with five titles in six years. For UNC-Greensboro, it was their worst loss against a Division III opponent in four years, and the win propelled Glassboro to the No. 1 ranking before their quarterfinal away date with 2nd-ranked and undefeated Cortland St., winners of the New York regional. The SUNYAC champions had arguably the easiest pair of regional games, dispatching of Brooklyn and St Lawrence by a combined 9-2 score, to set-up a rematch with Glassboro, the two teams having also fought over a Final Four spot just two years before. Cortland St. proved to be worthy quarterfinalists with neither side conceding anything over 90 minutes, sending the game to overtime where the Profs would finally break the stalemate to book their place in the Final Four once more.

Brandeis University Judges

Head Coach: Mike Covan, 8th season

Record (entering Final Four): 16-2-1 (.917) | 56 GS (3.11 gpg), 19 GA (1.06 gpg)

Path to Final Four Babson W1-0; Salem St. W2-0; quarterfinal bye

Prior NCAA Appearances (4):  1976 (Champions), 1978, 1979, 1980

Prior NCAA Record (1976-80):  7-3-0 (.700)

Key Players*:  Mitch Ochs (Sr.) F  | Dick Ellis (Sr.) F  | Dan Miller (Sr.) M  | Frank Raio (Jr.) D  | Jim Leahy (So.) GK 

1981 Brandeis men's soccer team from the official 1981 Final Four program

After winning the national title in 1976 in their first trip to the NCAA tournament, Brandeis failed to make a return trip to the Final Four in the next four years, being stopped by Babson in the second round the previous two seasons, on the road in 1979 and at home in 1980. A 14-2-1 regular season in which both losses came to Division I opposition had the Judges in the Top 10 and in the tournament for a fourth straight season and five of the last six under the guidance of head coach Mike Coven. In fact, over half the Brandeis schedule was against Division I or II competition, the highlight being a 2-1 overtime victory over Boston U. who had participated in the Division I tournament just the previous year. Against Division III competition the Judges went 7-0-1 scoring 3.25 goals per game while allowing just 0.75 goals per game.

Coven and his players were given another crack at Babson in the tournament, this in the first round and at home with Brandeis having been selected hosts for the New England regional. The two had locked horns at the tail end of the regular season as had become tradition and the uncharacteristically high scoring affair finished deadlocked at 3-3 after two overtime periods. The defenses would tighten up in the tournament encounter and a single goal would be all it took to win, Brandeis finally coming out on top.

Salem St., 1-0 winners over the Coast Guard in their first-ever tournament game, were Brandeis' second round opponent with a quarterfinal bye and Final Four berth hanging in the balance. Salem St. was an up and coming team from the MASCAC, having just won their first-ever conference title. Brandeis, however, would make sure that Salem St. would not find the same first-time success in the tournament as they did five years ago, as they ran out 2-0 winners to book their place in the Final Four.

University of Scranton Royals

Head Coach: Steve Klingman, 9th season (121-44-5, .726 entering the Final Four)

Record (entering Final Four): 16-5-1 (.750) | 71 GS (3.23 gpg), 16 GA (0.73 gpg)

Path to Final Four Elizabethtown W4-1; Scranton W2-1 (ot); Wheaton (Ill.) W1-0

Prior NCAA Appearances (4):  1977, 1978, 1979 (quarterfinals all three years); 1980 (runner-up)

Prior NCAA Record (1977-80):  6-4-1 (.545)

Key Players*:  Cedric DeSilva (Sr.) F - 16g 10a (2nd Team All-American, 1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-MAC)  | William McNeel (Jr.) GK - 0.81 GAA, 10 Shutouts (All-Region, All-MAC)  | Cedric Loureiro (Jr.) F - 9g, 10a (All-MAC)  | Michael Crines (Jr.) M - 3g, 4a (All-Region)  | Thomas McGill (Jr.) D (All-MAC)  | David Hardie (Jr.) D (All-MAC)  | Dan Diceanu (Fr.) F - 8g, 6a  | Scott Hirst (Fr.) F - 8g, 4a  | Kevein O'Callahan (Jr.) F - 7g, 5a  | Joseph McGlynn (So.) F - 8g, 2a  (* - tournament statistics and post-season honors included)

1981 Scranton men's soccer team from the official 1981 Final Four program

As one of the nation's best teams after three straight years reaching the Elite 8, the Royals reached the NCAA final the previous season where they were edged by Babson in overtime, 1-0. However, they lost eight to graduation, many of them starters, setting up 1981 to be a re-building year. And that's exactly how the new season seemed to be unfolding when the team picked up three losses in their first six games. Head coach Steve Klingman had All-American forward Cedric DeSilva back for his senior year, but needed time for his new starters and excellent incoming class to bed in. By the end of the season, however, they again were playing top level soccer, making possible what in early September was inconceivable: another title challenge.

DeSilva, the Sri Lanka native and England citizen, was pulled back into the midfield for his final season and while his goal total understandably dropped, he still was the team leader in goals while also leading in assists as he broke the score records for career goals and assists. Another All-American honor would be be-stowed upon him after the close of the season. His move was made possible by the number of quality options at forward. The output of junior forwards Carlos Loureiro and Kevin O'Callahan would be augmented by the freshman contributions of Dan Diceanu at center-forward, Joe McGlynn off the bench, and Scott Hirst out of the midfield. By season's end six players would have 7 or more goals, making their attack one of the nation's best and most balanced. Junior goalkeeper Bill McNeel didn't post the same stellar numbers as in 1980, more a reflection of the team as a whole, but still hit double-digit shutouts with junior center back Thomas McGill working in front of him.

In a repeat of 1980, Scranton beat Elizabethtown and Haverford in the MAC playoffs for their fifth consecutive conference championship. The win over Elizabethtown by a 2-0 count exacted a measure of revenge for a 2-1 regular season loss. The Royals were seeded No. 1 in the Pennsylvania/Maryland Regional hosted by Franklin & Marshall and were tasked with playing Elizabethtown a third time to open the tournament. Scranton's play was sloppy in the first half, but still good enough to get on the board first with Loureiro scoring midway through the half only to be cancelled by an Elizabethtown goal shortly before the intermission. In the second stanza Loureiro needed just 30 seconds to put the Royals in front again and they dominated the rest of the way with Loureiro completing the hattrick followed by a Scott Hirst tally for the 4-1 win. Scranton battled F&M and a stiff wind the next day and an uneventful first half turned more intense after the hosts converted a penalty kick after a Scranton hand ball in the box. Scranton would keep F&M pinned back for much of the second half, but didn't get too many good looks while the Diplomats seemed to find ways to test McNeel whenever they could get out of their own half. DeSilva was moved to forward as the game wound down and the increased pressure led to, oddly enough, another hand ball that would keep Scranton's season alive as DeSilva converted from the spot 3 minutes before time. Scranton had the best two chances in the initial overtime session, but in the second extra period it would take a goal-mouth clearance by Larry Lyman to extend the game until Hirst headed in a long Tim Hughes throw-in from 15 yards out for the win.

6th-ranked Wheaton (Ill.) stood between the Royals and a repeat trip to the Final Four. Wheaton, champions of the newly formed Midwest Metropolitan Soccer Conference, had posted a 4-3-1 record versus Division I competition to prove their strength. Scranton's team speed was pitted against the skill and finesse of a squad that contained several sons of missionaries who learned the game growing up overseas. Wheaton hosted and an evenly played first half passed without a goal for either side. Wheaton's top two scorers, who had lived in Brazil and Belgium, were kept in check throughout the game and Scranton, who had its own foreign influences, broke the deadlock midway through the second half when the Portuguese Loureiro got behind the defense for a one-on-one with the keeper and slotted it home. The precious 1-0 lead would stand until the final whistle and send Scranton back to the Final Four.

Ohio Wesleyan University Bishops

Head Coach: Jay Martin, 5th season (67-18-12, .753 entering Final Four)

Record (entering Final Four): 17-2-4 (0.826) | 62 GS (2.69 gpg), 17 GA (0.74 gpg)

Path to Final Four Calvin W4-2; Bethany (WV) W3-2; quarterfinal bye

Prior NCAA Appearances (5):  1975 (Final Four), 1976, 1978 (quarterfinals), 1979, 1980

Prior NCAA Record (1975-80):  4-5-0 (.444)

Key Players*:  Jim Kohlasch (Sr.) D (1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-OAC)  | Rick Wyman (Fr.) F - 10g, 5a (1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-OAC)  | Rich Farquhar (Sr.) F - 14g, 5a (2nd Team All-Region, 2nd Team All-OAC)  | Charlie Louria (Jr.) M - 11g (2nd Team All-Region, 2nd Team All-OAC)  | Vic Misiewicz (Sr.) F/M (2nd team All-OAC)  | John Gower (Jr.) F  | Guy Herrman (Sr.) GK  (* - tournament statistics and post-season honors included)

1981 Ohio Wesleyan men's soccer team from the official 1981 Final Four program

The young head coach Jay Martin had built on the success of his predecessor Fred Myers, but hadn't yet matched Myer's trip to the Final Four in 1975, his second last season in charge. With a balanced attack and tenacious defense, the Battling Bishops went undefeated in conference play and in a match-up of division winners defeated Kenyon 2-1 for a third straight OAC title. Out of conference Ohio Wesleyan went 1-2-2 against Division I and II competition, including a 1-0 win over Ohio State, and was considered the third best team in Ohio in any division. Similarly, Coach Martin would be cited as the state's best college coach in all divisions.

Leading the Bishop attack were senior center forward Rich Farquhar (14g, 5a) and freshman sensation Rick Wyman (10g, 5a) at left forward. Wyman would earn 1st Team All-Region honors at season's end, eventually becoming a 3-time All-American. Juniors John Gower at right forward and Charlie Louria at cen-ter midfield gave defenses even more to think about, Louria returning from missing the 1980 season to chip in 11 goals. The pair were two-sport stars, also playing for the successful Martin-coached lacrosse team with whom they both would later be named All-Americans. Senior sweeper Jim Kohlasch provided the team with leadership and defensive skill and toughness. In between the pipes, senior Guy Herrmann had set the team and conference record for shutouts in a season with 12 when the Bishops kept conference division rival Denison, also a tournament selection, scoreless to close out the regular season.

Ohio Wesleyan was selected top seed and host for the Great Lakes regional and their first assignment was MIAA champion Calvin who had knocked the Bishops out of the tournament in the second round the previous year on the very same field. The result would be different his time as a pair of goals from Gower would pace the Bishops to a 4-2 victory and a tournament rematch with the Presidents' conference champion Bethany (WV) who Ohio Wesleyan had beaten 2-1 in the first round a year prior. Bethany was also 4-2 first round winners having doubled-up Wesleyan's OAC South Division rival Denison. Since the Great Lakes region had a bye in the quarterfinals, a spot in the Final Four was on the line. It would be another high scoring affair and Farquhar would lead the Bishops to a 3-2 victory with his 13th and 14th goals of the season. The Bishops were back in the Final Four for the second time.

Semifinal: Glassboro St. 1, Brandeis 0

Friday, November 20 – 10 a.m.

The first semifinal pitted the top two ranked teams in the nation, but the two teams had arrived by contrasting paths. Brandeis played two home games against unranked teams before a quarterfinal bye, while the NJSAC champion Glassboro St. played thee games on the road against top 10 teams. However, the independent Brandeis certainly would have felt sufficiently prepared by their rigorous regular season schedule that included a range of Division I and II teams. The team's playing styles also contrasted as Glassboro liked to utilize their speed to play an up-tempo game and create a host of opportunities. Brandeis, perhaps a product of the non-Division III slate, played a more physical game and were content to work the ball upfield methodically. Glassboro did not only have Brandeis to battle but their own psyche as they had been labeled by some as "bridesmaids" and accused of "choking" in the last two Final Fours, both ending in losses to Babson. Brandeis wasn't Babson, but they were a Massachusetts school who had beaten Babson to get here. Moreover, leg injuries were slowing the Profs' forwards Tony O'Connor and Garfield Francis.

Any Glassboro doubts were only reinforced as the game began to unfold with Brandeis' pressure proving to be stifling. Under the weight of expectations and history, the experienced and senior-laden squad from Jersey was uncharacteristically uptight. Normally confident and loose, their swagger was replaced by jitters. Brandeis, on the other hand, seemed to be doing a better job of executing their game plan. Playing physical defense and a possession game on attack, the Judges were able to negate the Profs' speed. Glassboro would be limited to just five first half shots, none that dangerous. Brandeis almost converted the best scoring chance of the first half when sophomore defender headed a free kick off the post, but the opening stanza would close scoreless.

The second half was much of the same with chances scarce and the Profs misfiring the few that came their way. The outlook for Glassboro was not helped with leading goal-scorer Scott Salisbury sidelined by a twisted ankle suffered during the game. Despite not managing much themselves, neither was Brandeis as the Profs' defense was living up to its billing as one of the nation's best. Play was bogged down in the midfield and it was becoming obvious that any score now would be a game-winning one.

With the clock ticking towards overtime, memories returned to quadruple overtime semifinal battle the previous year between Glassboro and Babson that the latter finally won less than 2 minutes before going to a penalty shootout. The injured senior Salisbury couldn't bare to watch from the bench and got himself reinserted late in the game, a move that proved instrumental. It was his run along the goal line that forced a Brandeis' clearance for a Glassboro corner kick with about 6 minutes remaining on the clock. A defensive header cleared the initial danger, but the ball fell for Profs' junior defender Robbie Bechtloff outside the box and who launched a long-range effort. In flight, the shot would take a slight deflection off teammate Tim Dempsey's head, enough to beat the Brandeis' keeper Jim Leahy and find the back of the net. Glassboro wouldn't concede the lead in the few minutes that remained and in a gut-check game had come out on top to return to the title game.

Goal Scoring Summary:
95' Glassboro St. – Tim Dempsey (Robbie Bechtloff)

Statistical Summary:
not available

Semifinal: Scranton 2, Ohio Wesleyan 1

Friday, November 20 – 1 p.m.

The second semifinal paired two squads with balanced scoring and strong defenses who were becoming regulars in the tournament: Scranton participating for the fifth straight year, Ohio Wesleyan for the sixth time in seven years. Nevertheless, the two had never met despite being on a quarterfinal collision course the previous year before Ohio Wesleyan's second round loss to Calvin. In attack, Ohio Wesleyan had three players with double-digit goals scored while Scranton boasted six players with 7 or more goals to their name. The defenses which had posted nearly identical goals against averages (0.73 vs. 0.74) would certainly have their work cut out for them.

The sky was overcast and the field soggy as the opening whistle blew and play began. Scranton started better and had the upper hand throughout much of the first half hour. However, the Bishop defense, not afraid to foul, would limit the Royals looks at goal even if losing the possession battle. It was unfortunate then when in the 22nd minute a direct free kick taken by Scranton's Cedric DeSilva would elude the reach of Bishop goalie Guy Herrmann after having deflected off the shoulder of teammate Vic Misiewicz. Nine minutes later the momentum would swing to Ohio Wesleyan when a mazy run through the Scranton defense by Rick Wyman as he cut into the box from the left corner allowed him to pick out Charlie Louria who blasted the ball past Bill McNeel to even the score at 1-1. The balance of the half favored Ohio Wesleyan who would outshoot the Royals 6 to 4 (SOG 3-2) and win more corners (3-1) in the opening stanza. It was Scranton doing more of the chasing and fouling as a pretty contentious half—16 fouls for each side—wound down. However there was no second goal for the Bishops as the teams stood even at the interval.

Momentum seemed to remain with Ohio Wesleyan out of the break, but that didn't last long and soon Scranton was dictating the action that more and more was happening in the Bishops' half of the field. If not the only, certainly the most dangerous opportunities were being created by the Royals, but Herrmann was equal to the task. At the midway point of the half, Scranton's pressure resulted in a penalty kick that seemed certain to put them in front as their All-American DeSilva stepped up to the spot. But despite sending Herrmann the wrong way, DeSilva push his shot just wide of the lower left hand corner. Still tied, it didn't discourage the Royals who started to rain shots down upon Herrmann as Ohio Wesleyan fell into a defensive shell for the final 20 minutes of the match. Scranton would overwhelm the Bishops in racking up a 21-4 margin in shots taken during the half, 10 shots on goal to the Bishops' one, and a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks earned. Ohio Wesleyan would only lead in fouls committed, 11 to 2, but the two teams remained even in the all-important category of goals scored as 90 minutes expired to force overtime.

Scranton certainly had reason feel they deserved to win the game, but that mattered little as the slate was wiped clean as game entered sudden-death overtime. The first chance of overtime came to Scranton who worked the ball deep and earned a corner kick two minutes into the period. The Bishops defended the initial incoming ball but couldn't clear it from the area and it fell to an open DeSilva who would not spurn the chance to redeem himself for the penalty kick miss. The talented senior knew it was in the moment it left his left foot as a wave of relief fell over him.  Scranton was going back to the title game for a second straight year and yet again the title would be an all-east affair.

Goal Scoring Summary:
22:44 Scranton – Cedric DeSilva (unassisted, direct free kick)
32:43 Ohio Wesleyan – Charlie Louria (Rick Wyman)
92:11 Scranton – Cedric DeSilva (unassisted)

Statistical Summary:
Shots: O-11 S-26 | SOG: O-4 S-13 | Corners: O-4 S-7 | Fouls: O-27 S-13 | Saves: O-11 S-3

Consolation: Brandeis 4, Ohio Wesleyan 2

Saturday, November 21 – 10 a.m.

Brandeis and Ohio Wesleyan had the unenviable task of trying get motivated to play a game with next to no meaning. Their goal—a national championship—to which they had worked and dedicated themselves for the past 3 months could no longer be achieved and in that reality the difference between third and fourth place probably didn't seem very important. The wind which occasionally reached 20 mph made the 40-degree weather feel colder as the players went about trying to overcome the urge to simply go through the motions. The Bishops appeared to be playing loose and confident in the early going and when Brandeis' keeper Jim Leahy mishandled a Vic Misiewicz shot it was senior Rich Farquhar who was first to rebound to bang it home for the Bishop lead. But as the game advanced, it was Brandeis who looked to be more invested in the outcome and within ten minutes the Judges were also on the scoreboard when senior Dick Ellis was able to find the freshman midfielder Kyle Ayer in position to slot the ball past the Bishop keeper for the equalizer. In no time, however, Ohio Wesleyan was back in front thanks to a Brandeis' miscue: an attempt to head the ball back to the keeper was off target and the ball trickled over the line and into the goal before goalie Jim Leahy could chase it down. The own goal was nevertheless credited the Bishops' Tim Schmiechen.

Ohio Wesleyan again couldn't hold the lead and Brandeis took advantage of some lackadaisical defending in the final fifteen minutes of the half to not only tie the game but take the lead with sophomore midfielder Jim Murphy and junior defender Peter Hemme scoring the tying and go-ahead goals, respectively. At the break, Brandeis held a 3-2 lead, and the second half was a continuation of the first with the Judges able to possess the ball and control the tempo against the Bishops who, even when they had the ball, were increasingly ineffective. With most of the game being played in the Ohio Wesleyan half, it was only fair that Brandeis tacked on a fourth goal twelve minutes after resuming play. Senior striker Mitch Ochs received the ball from junior fullback Frank Raio and hammered a shot past a couple defender and Herrmann in what would be the game's last score. 4-2 was the difference in favor of Brandies at the final whistle in what would end up being the last consolation match played at the Final Four.

Goal Scoring Summary:
XX:XX Ohio Wesleyan – Richie Farquhar
XX:XX Brandeis – Kyle Ayer (Dick Ellis)
17:56 Ohio Wesleyan – Tim Schmiechen (unassisted)
XX:XX Brandeis – Jim Murphy
XX:XX Brandies – Peter Hemme
56:57 Brandeis – Mitch Ochs (Frank Raio)

Statistical Summary:
Shots: B-19 O-13 | SOG: B-13 O-8 | Corners: B-5 O-4 | Saves: B-6 O-9

Final: Glassboro St. 2, Scranton 1 (4ot)

Saturday, November 21 – 1 p.m.

One team literally limped into the final, the other wasn't supposed to be here. Glassboro's attack was far from 100% as two players were nursing leg injuries when they arrived at the Final Four and leading scorer Scott Salisbury was on crutches after suffering an ankle injury in the semifinal. That didn't stop him from returning to that game to score the game-winner, but between games it was ice bags and crutches to give the senior the best chance of giving it a go in his last collegiate game. Scranton on the other hand were supposed to be in a re-building year after heavy losses to graduation after falling in last year's final, but it turned out to be a matter of re-loading to get another shot at the ultimate prize. Experience, therefore, would favor the senior-laden Glassboro squad if not health, but by reaching this point both sides had proven themselves capable of bringing home the title.

The wind from the third place match had picked up and in the first half Glassboro had the wind at their backs. A big question mark was the condition of Salisbury, but the senior was not going to be denied the opportunity to accomplish was eluded him and his teammates the last two years. And like a move script it was he that opened the game's scoring in the 22nd minute haven been set-up by fellow senior Tony O'Connor. The lead wouldn't last that long as Scranton got on the board six minutes later when the wind played tricks with a Cedric DeSilva cross fooling Glassboro's senior keeper Walt Gotrell allowing the ball to fall in the area. In the ensuing goal-mouth scramble Thomas McGill was able to poke the ball across the line to equalize. It was the first time in the tournament that the Profs had been scored upon, having gone over 6-1/2 hours without conceding. The 1-1 tie would hold until half time, with the game lacking much rhythm with the fouls adding up.

Scranton had the wind with them in the second half and probably created the better chances, DeSilva coming close to putting Scranton ahead on several occasions. Both teams, however, were getting shots off with both keepers up to the task when necessary. The fouls continued to add up as well as neither side was willing to give an inch. Overtime beckoned as the second 45 minutes came and went without a single goal. Neither side was a stranger to overtime. Just in this tournament the Profs had needed overtime in the first and third rounds in 1-0 wins and Scranton had gone to extra time in the 2nd round and the semifinal the day before to earn 2-1 victories. Moreover, the year before Glassboro was eliminated in a quadruple overtime semifinal loss to Babson who then bested Scranton 1-0 with an overtime tally in the final.

Continuing with the wind at their backs, Scranton looked the better bet to win in the early stages of overtime, but the first extra period ended without the decisive goal. The tide began to sing back to the Profs as the second overtime rolled along, Glassboro's more liberal substitutions paying dividends as they were quicker to 50-50 balls. The second overtime decided nothing and in the third period Glassboro was able to keep a bulk of the play in Scranton's half but without reward. The teams had played 2 hours and 15 minutes, the last hour and three-quarters scoreless. No final had gone to penalty kicks in the first seven years of the tournament, but that seemed where this one was headed as the fourth overtime session ticked under three minutes. That's when none other than Scott Salisbury found himself with the ball and space to rip a left-footed bomb towards the upper left corner of the goal. Try as he might, Bill McNeel could not reach it and Glassboro had won their first national title and passed the "bridesmaid" label to Scranton who had now lost back-to-back finals in overtime. Salisbury was easily named the tournament MVP for his heroics. For Glassboro it was a fitting culmination for the seniors like Tim Dempsey, Jeff Wieboldt, Scott Salisbury, Tony O'Connor, Walt Gotrell and even less-heralded Bobby Wilder who had been on the doorstep the previous two years.

Goal Scoring Summary:
21:34 Glassboro St. – Scott Salisbury (Tony O'Connor)
27:54 Scranton – Thomas McGill (Cedric DeSilva)
147:26 Glassboro St. – Scott Salisbury (unassisted)

Statistical Summary:
Shots: G-31 S-20 | SOG: G-13 S-16 | Corners: G-7 S-4 | Fouls: G-40 S-32 | Saves: G-15 S-11

1981 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Champions:

Glassboro State College Profs

Tournament Postscript

• Scanton's Cedric DeSilva increased his career tournament goal total to ten, a record which would be tied but not broken for almost a decade and a half. UNC-Greensboro's Andrew Mehalko would match it (1983-86) and then William's Bruce Murray would break the record in 1995 and set the current record at 12 in 1996.

• Glassboro St. and their goalkeeper Walt Gotrell set team and individual records for lowest goals against average (GAA) in a tournament, allowing a single goal in five games for a 0.20 GAA (per game, not 90 min.) The mark would stand for twenty years before Hope and Marcus Voos would not be scored upon in their three games in the 2002 tournament. Only twice has a team and goalkeeper gone five games without giving up a goal: Messiah and Dustin Shambach in 2004 and Middlebury and Brian Bush in 2007.

Other Collegiate Soccer Champions in 1981

NCAA Division I Men's: Connecticut 2, Alabama A&M 1 (ot)

NCAA Division II Men's: Tampa 1, Cal St. LA 0 (ot)

AIAW Women's: North Carolina

NAIA Men's: Quincy 4, Alderson-Braoddus 1

NJCAA Men's: Florissant Valley Community College 2, Miami-Dade North 0

NCCAA Men's: Messiah 2, Cedarville 1

 


by Christan Shirk

Special thanks to the sports information personnel at Rowan University, Brandeis University, University of Scranton, and Ohio Wesleyan University for their assistance in developing this review.

If you know of any factual errors in the above review or have addition information please contact the author via e-mail. Likewise, if you have any "artifacts" (newspaper clippings, box scores, photos, etc.) related to the 1981 (or any other year's) tournament and Final Four, we would love to have copies to add to our archives and use in our review.

Other Final Four Reviews:  1980 | 1990
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