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October 31, 2011

Men’s Soccer: Shufelt’s Golden Goal in 2OT Lifts Cadets to 3-2 win over Lasell in GNAC Quarterfinals

More news about: Norwich men's team

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Junior midfielder Garrett Shufelt (Clifton Park, N.Y.) scored with 3:09 remaining in the second overtime to lift the Norwich men's soccer team to a dramatic 3-2 come from behind victory over Lasell in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Quarterfinals on Monday at Howard Field.

Shufelt settled a free-kick service from freshman midfielder Chris Bristol (Clinton, Conn.) in the middle of the penalty area, turned to his left and then fired a shot along the ground towards the right post to beat Lasell goalkeeper Aren Moorman. The goal sent the Cadets' bench pouring onto the field to celebrate with Shufelt and the rest of the team at midfield.

"I'm used to Wes [Keslin] flicking the ball on toward the goalie so I got in behind and the ball actually went over everybody to me," Shufelt said. "I turned and was going to dump it off to Ryan Campbell or Ryan Robertson but they both said 'you you' so I swung, hoped for the best and then saw it hit the net."

Just moments prior to the game-winning goal, Norwich coach Kyle Dezotell pleaded with Shufelt that he needed more from the junior and he even said he was considering taking him out.

"There's something about Garrett where he is 'Johnny on the spot" a lot of times," Dezotell said. "We considered potentially taking him off but we decided to stick with him because he is that guy. The finish was great because he was really composed. He took a first touch, turned his body and put it into the corner."

The goal was Shufelt's sixth of the season and first since Oct. 4. Ironically that was the last time the Cadets played Lasell and NU won 4-0.

"Coach Dezotell recognizes what gets me going and what doesn't," Shufelt said. "He lit a fire under me and I knew I had to start scoring goals or do something or he was going to take me out."

Norwich (10-8-0) had to rally twice to tie the game in each half to set up Shufelt's last minute heroics.

Lasell jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 5th minute when Isaac Soares slipped behind the NU defense unmarked on the right wing and volleyed home a cross from the left by Evan Gaccione.

The Cadets answered less than three minutes later when Robertson (Northfield, Vt.) headed home a corner kick service from Bristol to knot the match at one.

Neither side was able to score again before the halftime whistle and the two teams went into the intermission deadlocked at one.

The Lasers struck early again though in the 53rd minute when Gaccione's corner kick service deflected off a Norwich defender and caught the Cadets' goalkeeper Christian Hallstrom (Las Vegas, Nev.) off guard.

However, Norwich continued to dig deep and answered again in the 68th minute when Anthony Amell (Northfield, Vt.) converted on a penalty kick to tie the match up at two. Lasell's Jonathan Klippert was sent off for an infraction in the penalty area during a corner kick.  The officials awarded Norwich a penalty kick and Amell rose to the occasion, burying the PK into the side corner of the net past Moorman.

"It was a great college playoff soccer game," Dezotell said. "It was exciting, as well as back and forth. It was two teams who didn't give an inch and both wanted to win. Our kids showed great resiliency coming back twice, especially for such a young group."

Even short a man, Lasell's offense continued to generate chances throughout the remainder of regulation and the two overtime sessions. But, the Norwich backline of Keslin, Campbell, Derek Morin (South Paris, Maine) and Billy Flanagan (Oxford, N.Y)  stood tall to thwart off the Lasers' attack.

"This win was awesome," Shufelt said. "The guys played their hearts out. It's not often you see freshmen playing as hard as they did today. Our senior captain Ryan Robertson was unbelievable. He led us the whole way and got our first goal."

With the win, Norwich has now advanced to at least the GNAC Semifinals every year during Dezotell's six years at the helm of the program.

The Cadets will face top-seeded Albertus Magnus for the second straight year in the semifinals. Last year, the Falcons won 4-0.

"We can't wait for Albertus Magnus," Shufelt said. "It's all we want. We just want another shot at them. We know if anyone matches up with them in the GNAC, it's us."

Earlier this season, Albertus Magnus rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to score five straight goals and beat Norwich 5-1 at Howard Field on Oct. 1.

"We feel like we match up with Albertus Magnus similarly," Dezotell said. "Even though they beat us 5-1, the game was pretty even in shots and corner kicks. They just took their chances and capitalized while we didn't."

If the Cadets are going to be successful, they'll have to try and contain Albertus Magnus' dynamic duo of Jamal Howard and Stephen Zapata.

Howard leads the conference in goals with 21 and Zapata leads all of Division III with 20 assists.

"They have two very talented players with the leading scorer in the conference and a midfielder that leads the nation in assists," Dezotell said. "They have a good team with a bunch of very good role players. We have absolutely nothing to lose and the target is on them. Our goal all season has been to make the GNAC finals and we're one step closer now. It's a great opportunity for us to knock off the best team in the league."

Match time is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Albertus Magnus' home field in New Haven, Conn.

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