November 7, 2014

Midweek Wrap - Week 10

By Ryan Harmanis

The Midweek Wrap highlights weekday matches before they are forgotten in the weekend whirlwind. Compelling match-ups and intriguing results from across the country will be covered. You can expect both brief recaps of the games themselves and to have performances and outcomes placed into context.

Commonwealth Tournament

No. 1 Messiah 3, Alvernia 0

Lycoming 3, Arcadia 2 (OT)

Top-ranked Messiah (18-0-1) made quick work of Alvernia (11-8-2) in the semifinals of the Commonwealth tournament Thursday evening. The Falcons, who barely squeaked by Alvernia just a week ago, left no doubt in the rematch with early goals from Mike Kovach and Brian Ramirez. Ramirez’s goal was particularly heartbreaking as the dense fog allowed Ramirez to curl the ball right at the front post, where Matt Kyne reacted quickest to glance the ball into the goal for his first career goal. (Check out the local news highlighlights)

Now, Messiah will have the opportunity to atone for last season’s disappointment in the conference tournament by hosting Lycoming (15-2-3). The Warriors, who famously held Messiah to a 0-0 draw and won in penalties one year ago, nipped Arcadia (9-7-2) in overtime Thursday. Twice Lycoming took the lead, but each time Arcadia refused to wilt and drew level, but Lycoming kept its composure and freshman Jordan Logan fired the winner early in overtime. Lycoming was stuck at seventh in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Rankings, meaning a win on Saturday night is probably its only route to the tournament.

SUNYAC Tournament

No. 3 Oneonta State 4, Geneseo State 0

No. 24 Cortland State, Brockport State 0 (OT)

In the SUNYAC, No. 3 Oneonta State (17-0-2) put any thoughts of an upset out of mind immediately as they jumped on Geneseo State (11-8-2). Hans Purtell bagged a brace and Colin Volpe added two assists as the Red Dragons raced to a 3-0 halftime lead. From there the result was never in doubt, and Oneonta now has the opportunity to complete a spectacular undefeated season.

To do so, the Red Dragons will have to overcome No. 24 Cortland State (14-3-1), 1-0 winners over Brockport State (10-3-6) via Sean Streb’s golden goal in the 99th minute. The (other) Red Dragons—both schools have the same mascot—tied Oneonta 2-2 earlier this season and will have no fear heading into the conference final. Oneonta and Cortland were first and third, respectively, in the East Region Rankings, which should mean the loser of the championship game will receive a Pool C (at-large) NCAA bid. Regardless, both teams will be desperate for conference glory and the certainty of automatic entry into the field.

MIAA Tournament

No. 5 Calvin 2, Alma 0

Kalamazoo 2, Hope 0

The MIAA final will feature at least one familiar face after fifth-ranked Calvin (18-2-0) dispatched Alma (8-8-3) Wednesday afternoon. The Knights, who ran rampant through the MIAA for a perfect 14-0 conference record, were gifted an own-goal in the 20th minute. Despite incessant pressure, Calvin could not find an insurance goal until the 88th minute, when Stephan Hooker scored his 11th of the season off Travis Vegter’s assist. Calvin remains one of the country’s hottest teams, and a win in the MIAA final should lead to home field and a potential bye on Selection Monday.

Calvin will have a new dance partner in the MIAA championship game, with Kalamazoo (12-6-2) handling perennial power Hope (13-7-1) for the third time this season. Jacob Waier picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the season, and he must have enjoyed it so much he scored again in the second half to send the Hornets to a third meeting with Calvin. The Knights blitzed Kalamazoo 3-0 in both regular season meetings, but the Hornets, unranked in the Central Region, must win on Saturday to reach the NCAA tournament.

NCAC Tournament

No. 6 Kenyon 3, Wabash 0

No. 15 Ohio Wesleyan 3, DePauw 2

The top seeds held serve in the NCAC as No. 6 Kenyon (16-1-1) and No. 15 Ohio Wesleyan (15-3-2) will meet for the second straight year at Roy Rike Field in Delaware with the conference championship on the line. Kenyon seems to have emerged from its midseason offensive struggles and pasted upstart Wabash (13-3-3) Tuesday afternoon. The Little Giants handed Kenyon its only loss, but a repeat performance seemed out of the question and the Lords dominated the game behind Tony Amolo’s two goals. Kenyon’s defense has 14 shutouts and only four goals against, meaning Wabash was never going to win a shootout in Gambier.

That incredible defense will face a taxing examination Saturday night against OWU, who dominated bogey team DePauw (10-8-1) but had to sweat out a 3-2 victory. OWU got the perfect start when Matt Cohen launched a top-shelf volley two minutes in, and two more goals covered some defensive lapses and set up a titanic clash in the NCAC final. Both Kenyon and OWU have Pool C bids wrapped up, and can approach this as a high-stakes dress rehearsal for NCAA opening weekend. The Lords, however, are winless in their last 11 games against OWU and could use a win to propel themselves to another deep tournament run.

NJAC Tournament

No. 17 Montclair State 3, Kean 0

Rutgers-Camden 3, No. 25 Rutgers-Newark 1

No. 17 Montclair State (16-4-0) easily advanced past Kean (12-8-1) to reach yet another NJAC tournament championship game. Maxx Wurzburger scored the game-winner in the fifth minute and added an assist in a two-minute, two-goal flurry in the second half to ensure the Red Haws advanced to Friday night’s championship. Somehow, Montclair dropped dramatically to seventh in the South Atlantic Region, so the Red Hawks must win the NJAC’s at-large invitation to feel confident about an NCAA bid.

A familiar foe stands in Montclair State’s way, and Rutgers-Camden (13-7-1) will fear no one after beating No. 25 Rutgers-Newark (15-5-0) for the second time this season. Newark took a 1-0 halftime lead, but lethal forward Mike Ryan struck twice for Camden, scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute. To add insult to injury, Grant Taylor added a third goal with just one second remaining in the game. Newark, who climbed all the way to third in the South Atlantic, is now at the selection committee’s mercy. Camden, so maligned after 2013’s NCAA runner-up finish, now has the chance to force its way back into the field.

IIAC Tournament

No. 7 Loras 2, Dubuque 1 (OT)

Wartburg 1, No. 16 Luther 0

No. 7 Loras (15-2-1) were forced to work into extra time to overcome Dubuque (7-9-3) in an IIAC semifinal on Wednesday in the Rock Bowl. Regardless, the Duhawks overcome a defensive wall and a dozen saves from Dubuque goalkeeper Riley Jensen to reach the conference final courtesy of Bryan Irwin’s third goal of the season. The Duhawks have managed to stay a little under the radar despite the lofty ranking after dropping games to a few weaker teams, but they seem to be rounding into form at the right time.

Wartburg (12-3-4) waits in the opposite corner after overcoming No. 16 Luther (16-3-1) for the second time this season. Wartburg was the better side in a tight affair, and its defense held Luther to just four shots on goal to make Zubeen Azari’s 58th-minute goal stand up. Luther’s season seems to be at an end, as the Norse have been omitted from the last two editions of the North Region Rankings. Loras and Wartburg, who sit first and second in those rankings, will replay the 2013 final won 1-0 by Loras. Both teams should be safely in the NCAA field, and both have shown the quality to reach the second weekend for the second straight year.

CAC Tournament

No. 20 Christopher Newport 2, No. 18 Salisbury 0

Penn State-Harrisburg 1, St. Mary’s (Md.) 0 (2OT)

In one of the few matchups between ranked teams, No. 20 Christopher Newport made a statement by blanking No. 18 Salisbury on Wednesday afternoon. CNU had started the season brightly but went through a rough 1-2-2 patch in mid-October and fell all the way to fifth to end the CAC regular season. However, the ship seems to be back on course for the Captains, who dominated in shots (18-4) and shots on goal (7-2). This led to a loss of composure from Salisbury, as the Sea Gulls committed 25 fouls and picked up six yellows and a red card. CNU’s impressive performance should put it in better shape for a Pool C bid, but Salisbury will be nervous come Selection Monday. The Sea Gulls are winless (0-1-3) against regionally ranked opponents, and their 0.556 strength of schedule is solid but not spectacular.

Salisbury will (oddly) find itself rooting for CNU against Penn State-Harrisburg (13-4-1), who shut out St. Mary’s (Md.) (10-10-0) and will host the CAC final Saturday afternoon. Harrisburg has goalkeeper Brandon Hoover to thank for the opportunity, as he made 10 saves to keep St. Mary’s off the board and allow the Lions to snatch the win via an own goal in double overtime. Harrisburg has been a surprise package this season, but the Lions beat both Salisbury and Newport during the regular season and are riding a wave of momentum into the conference championship game. In the previous meeting between Harrisburg and CNU, the Captains handily outshot the Lions but Harrisburg went up 3-0 and cruised from there. Look for the team that scores the first goal Saturday to come out on top.



Midweek Wrap

 

The Midweek Wrap highlights weekday matches before they are forgotten in the weekend whirlwind. Compelling match-ups and intriguing results from across the country will be covered. You can expect brief recaps of the games themselves while the performances and outcomes will be placed into context, be that of a player's career, a team's season, a conference race, tournament bids, or a more historical context.

Columnist

Ryan Harmanis

Ryan Harmanis graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (2011, Math & Economics) after four seasons playing for Dr. Jay Martin. Ryan has continued to closely follow Division III soccer since graduating. He combines an analytical background with a passion for writing and the game of soccer. [see full bio]

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