Lynchburg over Transy, Montclair to face Messiah
The first round of the 2010 NCAA postseason tournament kicked off Thursday with four men's matches and one women's match. Action continues on Friday.
For Nichols, the Commonweath Coast Conference champion, Thursday brought an historic first as the Bison played in their first ever NCAA postseason match. Nichols, hosting Little East Conference foe Eastern Connecticut State, earned a 10-1-2 record at home and had allowed only 10 goals all season. But the Warrior's Jon DeCasanova pushed that GA stat to 11 as he scored in the 26th minute for the only goal of the match. Matt Furman had the assist. And while Nichols pounded the Eastern Conn. goal, outshooting 27-10 with a 12-4 advantage in corners, they could not get a shot past Warrior keeper Carl Appel. Appel collected eight saves on the day, helping Eastern Conn. advance to the second round for a date with Bowdoin on Sunday. And even though the Bison had their post-season dream end early, 2010 was a season with a record for total wins, 15, and shutouts, 13. And in addition to their NCAA Tournament debut, they also captured their first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference championship.
For the Redlands women, their post-season comes somewhat unexpectedly after an OT upset of favorite Occidental in the SCIAC conference title match. And that followed an even bigger upset of nationally ranked Cal Lutheran. And so it really isn't a surprise that the Bulldogs have won again, this time edging Chapman 2-1 on their own field. Fionna Connolly had two goals in the match, including the unassisted game winner in the 70th minute. Chapman had tied the match off a corner kick in the 40th minute off a goal shared by Bridget Thomson and Val Sobol. But Redlands kept at it, building a 14-7 shot advantage on their way to victory. The Bulldogs now travel to Cal Lutheran on Sunday for a rematch of that previous upset win. Cal Lutheran may be thinking of the R word as they look forward to their chance at a spot in the Sweet 16.
2009 tourney surprise Transylvania made the trip to ODAC champ Lynchburg, dreaming of their own NCAA opportunities this year. In a hard fought battle with the Hornets, Transy matched up shot for shot, but couldn't match Lynchburg's score, falling 3-1. Senior Shawn Bender scored at the 23rd minute on a feed from Tyler Romano for the game winner, while Zach Rusk and Kyle Symczak added two goals in the second stanza. A late goal from Kyle Smith gave some life to Transy, but despite the best efforts of Alex Schmitt (five saves on the day), the Pioneers find their season over in the first round. Lynchburg will go on the road to face Emory in the second round on Sunday.
After a first half deficit of 1-0, Loras came on strong against SLIAC champ Greenville in the second half, getting the equalizer early in the second half off a restart from Miguel Bonilla. Greenville's Cobi Allen grabbed the lead in the 13th minute with his shot, but his team could not muster another shot on goal in the first half, and couldn't stop the waves of attacks from the Duhawks in the second as Malcolm Calbert and Sean Lewis added two more for the 3-1 final. Loras faces Wash U on Sunday for a second round match.
At Montclair State, it took a frustrating first half before the Red Hawks could find the back of the net against Maritime College. After taking a 17-1 shot advantage into halftime, freshman Matt Slattery finally broke through with a goal in the 47th minute with help from Dan Mendoza. 10 minutes later, senior Larry Geraghty made it 2-0, while senior Coron Short finished off the match with a late goal. Senior goalkeeper Harris Papson had 10 saves in the match for the Skyline champion Privateers, who were making their first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament, the first by any program in school history. Montclair now faces No. 1 Messiah on Sunday in Grantham.