The Final Four is set
One of the most anticpated weekends in the season is that which sends us our Final Four teams. And for 2011, we have our select group of men and women who will be playing for the championship in San Antonio on Dec. 2 and 3.
Joining the Calvin and Ohio Wesleyan men, and the Wheaton (Ill.) women from Saturday's action, are Messiah, William Smith, Ithaca women, and the Montclair State and Oneonta State men.
|Senior Erin Hench scored three goals in the Messiah win Photo by Messiah Athletics|
At Messiah (women)
Messiah will return to the national semifinals for their eighth straight visit as the Falcons defeated Amherst 3-1.
Senior Erin Hench converted on a long pass and beat the Amherst defense for an early one goal lead. The Falcons could only muster five more shots in the first half, and Jeff's senior keeper Allie Horwitz kept the net clean for he reminder of the half. Amherst had eight shots in the first half themselves but could not break the Messiah defense or senior keeper Autumn Reily.
Hench scored again in the 81st minute, but Amherst answered back in the eighth minute on a goal by Chloe McKenzie, taking a soft pass and chipping it over Reily. But Hench struck again two minutes later to seal the match and the trip to San Antonio. Amherst ends their strong post-season effort at 20-1.
The Falcons will face an undefeated William Smith on Dec. 2 in a national semifinal match.
|Rutgers-Camden sophomore Mitch Grotti opened the scoring against Oneonta State Photo by R-C Athletics|
At St. Lawrence (men)
Oneonta State continued their overtime themed weekend with a 2-1 double overtime win over Rutgers-Camden.
It was the 14th straight win for the Red Dragons in their first ever NCAA post-season tournament. And it was in the 106th minute that junior Alex Shkreli broke the 1-1 tie with his golden goal. Senior Nick Lange sent the ball into the box on a restart and junior Raymond Fitzpatrick headed the ball towards the net. The shot came off the post, and a quick-thinking Shkreli redirected the ball back into the goal for the win.
Rutgers' sophomore Mitch Grotti started the scoring in the 53rd minute, an assisted effort for his 19th goal of the season. In the 77th minute, Fitzpatrick equalized for Oneonta off a long ball from junior Eric Fortier.
Ruters-Camden ends their best post-season performance in program history at 19-3-2, while Oneonta State will face Calvin in the national semifinals on Dec. 2.
|Oneonta senior Nick Lange and Rutgers senior Chris Edelschein fight for control in Sunday's quarterfinal Photo by St. Lawrence Athletics|
At William Smith (women)
The Herons will make their return trip to the national semifinals as they cruised past Williams 4-0.
Freshman Dineo Mmutla had two goals in the match, with an assist from senior Whitney Frary. In the second half, the Herons grabbed another goal from senior Sarah Tarantino, from an Olivia Zitoli pass. The match was put out of reach when Frary scored off an assist from junior Renee Jensen. The match ended with a 14-4 shot advantage for the Herons.
No. 2 William Smith returns to its third final four in four years, and will face No. 1 Messiah in the national semifinal.
At Amherst (men)
Montclair State edged Stevens 1-0 and is now on their way to the national semifinals.
|Freshman Dineo Mmutla scorted twice in the Heron's win Photo by HWS Athletics|
After the first half ended scoreless, Stevens grabbed momentum but could not get one by junior keeper Anthony Rogic. It was Red Hawks senior Kevin Brown who finally broke the match open, nailing a shot from the top of the box, off a centering pass from senior Jon Christensen. The win breaks Stevens' 18 game unbeaten streak, and ends a memorable season at 18-3-1.
Montclair State makes their first national semifinal appearance in school history, and will play Ohio Wesleyan on Dec. 2.
At Ithaca (women)
Ithaca won a tough match with Cortland State, each side putting five shots on frame. The Bombers jumped out to an early lead with a goal from junior Rachael Palladino in the third minute, with an assist from sophomore Amanda Callanan. Then in the 22nd minute, after Cortland pressure was building, the Bombers struck again with a hard shot from sophomore Ellyn Grant-Keane, assisted by freshman Jesse Warren.
Ithaca now faces Wheaton in the national semifinal match on Friday, Dec. 2., their first trip to the semifinals since 1998.