Midweek Wrap - Week 9
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.
Tuesday, October 28
No. 1 Messiah 1, Alvernia 0 (2OT)
Top-ranked Messiah (16-0-1) left it late but Jeremy Payne scored a controversial goal in double overtime to overcome Alvernia (9-7-2) Tuesday evening. The Falcons—first in both the D3soccer.com Top 25 and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Rankings—were held in check for most of the evening. Alvernia defended well and even forced Brandon West to make five saves, but the effort was for naught. After a foul near the Alvernia goal, an injured Messiah player remained on the ground. Alvernia’s players switched off, but Messiah did not, as an alert Brian Ramirez chipped the ball to a wide-open Payne for a headed golden goal. While questions abound regarding the injured player and a credible claim for offside, Messiah provided another example of its ability to close out tough games heading towards the postseason.
No. 4 Oneonta State 3, Scranton 0
The Red Dragons of Oneonta State (16-0-2), ranked fourth nationally and first in the East Region, put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season with a clinical win over Scranton (9-6-2). Dylan Williams scored the winner in the 40th minute and freshman Cory Santangelo added his team-leading 11th to put the game to bed before halftime. Oneonta then scored on its only shot in a dull second half to clinch the SUNYAC title. The Red Dragons entered the NCAA Tournament in 2011 with a bang, making it all the way to the Final Four in their first appearance. This year’s edition has been even more impressive, and the pedigree of annual NCAA appearances makes Oneonta a threat to match (or better) the exploits of 2011.
No. 16 Luther 4, Dubuque 3 (2OT)
In a wild game on Tuesday, No. 16 Luther (15-2-1) eventually finished off a pesky Dubuque squad (6-8-3) in double overtime. Dubuque, buoyed by the opportunity to pass Luther in the IIAC standings, scored twice in quick succession and looked to be cruising to a 2-0 halftime advantage. Luckily for the Norse, Lucas Beato trimmed the margin just before the break, and Luther built on that momentum to take a 3-2 lead in the 67th minute. The Spartans weren’t done, and Gonzalo Hernandez forced overtime with a goal in the 84th minute. Luther, facing a debilitating loss, regrouped and found the winner through Jon Gednalske. The junior’s 11th goal of the season should have kept Luther near the top of the North Region, but the Norse were inexplicably omitted from the rankings altogether after checking in at second last week. Justified or not, Luther will have the opportunity to state its case for an at-large bid or punch its own ticket in the IIAC tournament next week.
Wednesday, October 1
No. 2 Franklin & Marshall 1, Gettysburg 0
Second-ranked Franklin and Marshall (15-0-1) continued its run as 2014’s most consistent team, as Janse Schermerhorn scored to dispatch Gettysburg (9-6-1). The Diplomats, whose only blemish came in an inexplicable 3-3 draw six weeks ago (against the same Alvernia squad that just held Messiah at bay for 105 minutes), have won 10 straight heading into a final showdown at No. 23 Dickinson. F&M has already wrapped up the top spot in the competitive Centennial, but finds itself stuck in second behind Messiah in the Mid-Atlantic Region. After falling to the Falcons just short of the Final Four, F&M will continue to push for the top spot and should aim to surpass last year’s Elite Eight appearance.
Rutgers-Newark 2, No. 10 Montclair State 1
The biggest midweek result came in New Jersey, where Rutgers-Newark (15-4-0) picked up a crucial victory over No. 10 Montclair State (15-4-0). Montclair had already wrapped up the NJAC, but the Raiders desperately needed this signature win for their NCAA resume. Charlie O’Connor staked Newark to an early lead, but Montclair leveled midway through the second half via Lucas Terci. Backs against the wall at sixth in the South Atlantic Region, freshman Chigozie Atubi scored a dramatic late winner for Newark with a cool finish just 20 seconds from the end of regulation. The win brings Newark’s record against regionally ranked opponents up to .500 (2-2) and gives the Raiders home field for a probable rematch with Rutgers-Camden in the NJAC tournament. A win over last year’s runner up will probably be enough to get Rutgers-Newark into the NCAA field.
No. 11 Muhlenberg 2, No. 23 Dickinson 1
The Midweek Wrap’s only matchup between ranked teams came in the Centennial, and No. 11 Muhlenberg (11-1-2) came out on top in a tussle with No. 23 Dickinson (11-4-1). Dickinson drew first blood as Ned Wagner headed in, but Lance Dotzman drew Muhlenberg even from the penalty spot just two minutes later. Dotzman would go on to grab the winner in the 85th minute and give the Mules second spot in the Centennial. Muhlenberg has overcome three cancelled games to reach third in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and beating Dickinson (ranked fourth) keeps them in position for an at-large bid if they fall in the Centennial tournament. Dickinson, on the other hand, has lost two straight and now faces No. 2 Franklin & Marshall Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils’ toughest game of the season could be the antidote for a tough week, or it could be another nail in their postseason coffin.
No. 18 Tufts 2, Bowdoin 2 (2OT)
Tufts (10-1-4) clinched the NESCAC title outright on Wednesday by holding on for a 2-2 draw against Bowdoin (8-6-1). The Jumbos seemed to be coasting when Kyle Volpe and Gaston Becherano scored for a 2-0 lead at the half, but Bowdoin improved and leveled in a span of two minutes midway through the second period. A nasty elbow from a Tufts’ player—unseen by the referee—overshadowed the culmination of a spectacular regular season for the Jumbos. Tufts will open the difficult NESCAC tournament by welcoming Connecticut College, but everyone is hoping for a rematch between Tufts and No. 13 Amherst in the final. The rest of the conference will have other ideas, with teams such as Williams and Middlebury requiring deep runs or even the tournament title to assure passage into the NCAA tournament.
No. 19 Salisbury 3, Wesley 1
No. 22 Christopher Newport 5, Marymount 1
No. 19 Salisbury
(12-1-5) and No. 22 Christopher Newport (13-3-4) got back on track with
wins over CAC strugglers Wesley (8-8-1)
and Marymount (3-15-0). Salisbury had drawn two in a row,
but Benjamin Aryeetey got the Sea Gulls rolling early and they took
a 3-0 lead before Wesley pulled one back late. The stat sheet might
be cause for concern, as Wesley enjoyed a clear advantage in shots
(17-9) and shots on goal (8-5), but the most important thing was
the win. Salisbury can now regroup and enjoy an outright CAC title
and a bye in the first round of the CAC tournament.
Christopher Newport was in more dire straights, 0-2-1 in its last three games, but few things cure a run of bad results like facing the last-placed team in the conference. Even then, the Captains went into the half down 1-0 and faced a serious test of mental fortitude coming out of the break. The halftime talk must have worked, as Alex Makumbi tied the game almost immediately and Newport cruised from there. Despite the win, the Captains must make a return trip to Mary Washington, where they fell 2-1 just two weeks ago, in the quarterfinals of the CAC tournament
Dominican 2, Milwaukee Engineering 1
In the most appropriate finish to Halloween week, Dominican (13-4-2) continued its return from the dead by upending Milwaukee Engineering (15-4-0) to earn a share of the NACC title and home field for the conference tournament. MSOE scored twice in regulation, but one of those happened to be an own-goal and an even game fittingly went to extra time with the conference championship on the line. The game appeared destined for a draw, but senior Logan Marvin headed in with under two minutes remaining to give the Stars a ninth-straight regular season title. Dominican started the season 0-3-1 against a brutal schedule, but has won 10 straight and is the form team in the NACC. However, both teams were unranked in the most recent Central Region rankings, meaning Wednesday’s match was simply a prelude to a potential winner-take-all title bout with an NCAA bid on the line next weekend.