Undermanned St. Scholastica Captures UMAC Title in Penalty Kicks
-CSS receives UMAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament for its fifth consecutive year
-Folkes named UMAC Tournament MVP
-First CSS home win in penalty kicks since defeating Northwestern in 2003
-There were eight yellow cards and two red cards given in the match
-The Saints played two men down for a total time of 26:44
-Rosato, who hadn't played a minute until the shootout, stopped 3 of 5 shots
DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The College of St. Scholastica men's soccer team, despite being two men down for some of the contest Saturday afternoon at Saints Field, pulled through in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Tournament championship by initially tying with the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets at 2-2 after two overtime periods, then proceeding to win in the penalty-kick shootout by a score of 3-2.
The match, which featured 352 people in attendance, was one for the history books. Both teams came into the contest with a victory over the other in the regular season, and both victories were by a two-goal margin. The intensity was seen throughout the match, whether it was shown by the student sections, the players competing, or the coaches. The game was hyped up to be a promising one, and it definitely delivered.
The first half of competition included three of the four goals in the match, with two being scored by CSS. St. Scholastica struck first in the 11th minute of play after Ryan Flynn found Shawayne Folkes, who managed to put the ball in the top far corner of the net to make it an early 1-0 lead.
Luke Buckton joined the scoring column with a goal of his own 13 minutes later, with assists going to Folkes and Josh Robak. The momentum, which was now heavily in favor of CSS, switched quickly back to UWS after two back-to-back fouls on the Saints within the box. The first penalty kick taken by Daniel Kearns of UWS was wide left, but the Yellowjackets made up for it a minute later when they found themselves with another PK attempt. This time they capitalized as Jon Bucklew got one past CSS goalkeeper Sandy Davidson-Hunt to put the Jackets within one.
Massive Card Distribution
As mentioned earlier, the Saints played some of the match two men down. The first ejection occurred in the first half when Trygve Rennan was given a red card after arguing a call that ultimately led to the UWS goal from Bucklew to make it 2-1. There were three yellow cards distributed before Rennan's red, with one going to Superior's James Menzies and two going to CSS players (Kyle Farrar and Buckton). There would be one more yellow given before the half when Superior's Mualigbe Keita was given one for a hard tackle with three minutes to go.
The second half included four cards distributed, with all four (three yellow, one red) going against CSS. The three yellows were given to Folkes, Jordan Lennon, and Jonny Harkin. The second Scholastica red card was given to Buckton in the 83rd minute after he earned his second yellow of the match. After Buckton's exit the Saints would be forced to play two men down for the rest of regulation as well as the two overtime periods.
The second half of action, which was played by CSS with one man down for the first 38 minutes and then two men down for the last seven minutes, was heavily dominated by the 'jackets. Bucklew scored his second goal of the match and his 16th of the season in the 62nd minute after receiving a nice pass from teammate Ryan Wisdom. That would be the only ball to beat Davidson-Hunt in the second half, despite UWS out-shooting CSS by a total score of 14-3. Two of those 14 shots from the Yellowjackets came in the final minute, with the first being deflected off the top crossbar and the second being fired off the right post.
The first overtime was a rather quiet one, as the Yellowjackets weren't able to generate much offense despite being up two players for the 10-minute period. In fact, UWS was only able to muster one shot on goal in the first overtime.
The second overtime consisted of three shots on goal for UWS, but all three were saved by Davidson-Hunt to keep the match at 2-2. The total shots after the second overtime were 31-6 in favor of Superior.
The Saints made a big change heading into the penalty kick shootout as they subbed out goalkeeper Davidson-Hunt, who had some incredible saves to keep CSS in the matchup to that point, and subbed in freshman keeper Corrado Rosato. Of course, Rosato is no stranger to the net himself as he's been the starting keeper for CSS most of the season due to the Davidson-Hunt injury.
St. Scholastica's first two shooters, Farrar and Folkes, each scored while only one UWS shooter found the back of the net to give CSS the 2-1 lead after two rounds. The 'jackets evened it out in round three with a big goal from David Villani and an even bigger save from goalkeeper Ben Wilhelm. Lennon than missed his shot in the fourth round, but Rosato rose up to the occasion and knocked away Superior's fourth shot to keep it at 2-2 heading into the final round of kicks.
Flynn than knocked one past Wihelm to give the Saints a 3-2 lead with one UWS shooter left. Rosato once again proved himself as one of the best keepers in the league with another big save to secure the championship for the Saints.
The Saints will now participate in the NCAA Division III Tournament starting next weekend. The tournament field will be announced on Monday at noon on NCAA.com..