Nov. 13, 2010

NEWARK, N.J. - With two and a half minutes remaining in the first overtime period, sophomore defender Kurt Olsen (Charlotte, N.C.) of the United States Merchant Marine Academy men's soccer team headed a corner kick assist into the back of the net to notch a second-round NCAA Division III Tournament victory for the Mariners against SUNY Brockport and send them to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002. Kings Point defeated Brockport by a final score of 3-2 at Lubetkin Field in Newark, N.J. on Saturday evening.

Six minutes into the contest, Brockport junior midfielder Brian Duffy (Hilton, N.Y.) fired one past USMMA sophomore goalie Gary Poulin (Hauppauge, N.Y.) to give the Golden Eagles (14-3-3) an early 1-0 advantage. Senior midfielder Christian Tychostup (Mayfield, N.Y.) was responsible for the assist.

The affair would stay 1-0 throughout the rest of the first half and into halftime. Coming out of the intermission, the Mariners (12-2-5) looked to tie things up quickly. Senior midfielder Lane Gould (Greenville, Texas), fresh off his pair of assists in Friday night's thrilling first-round 2-0 triumph over Kean University, found a loose ball off a corner kick amidst a scramble and shot it past Brockport senior goalkeeper Joe Marino (Rochester, N.Y.) for the equalizer in the 55th minute.

Seven minutes later, however, the Golden Eagles retook the lead when rookie defender Chris O'Gorman (Wading River, N.Y.) notched his second goal of the season to put Brockport ahead, 2-1.

Facing elimination and the conclusion of the 2010 season, Olsen scored the exhilarating game-tying goal in the 89th minute of play when he scored off a penalty kick, which was awarded to USMMA when junior defender Josh Reicks (Katy, Texas) was taken down in the box by Brockport's goalkeeper. The Charlotte, N.C. native injected Kings Point with a dose of life and catapulted the Mariners into overtime.

In the 98th minute, freshman defender Samuel Tubb (Alexandria, Va.) punched a corner kick towards the front of the goal, which Olsen then headed in past Marino to complete the unbelievable comeback. Merchant Marine won 3-2 and advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002.

Brockport had the advantage in both shots (16-10) and corner kicks (6-3).

For the Mariners, Poulin recorded four saves. In goal for the Golden Eagles, Marino stopped three shots.

"Coach Fitzgerald, Coach Sutton and I are extremely proud of the entire team as no one gave up when so much was going wrong. We kept our poise and gave a great effort to get the tying and winning goals. The guys are certainly excited about reaching the Sweet 16, and feel good about the level of soccer we played this weekend in back-to-back matches," Head Coach Michael Smolens commented after the second-round victory. "Every game is a challenge in the NCAA Tournament, and we certainly feel good about our chances going forward. The team appreciates the number of midshipmen who showed up in Newark for tonight's match. They didn't give up either and helped give our team the extra boast we needed. This was the most exciting victory I've experienced in my 21 years here."

Head Coach Michael Smolens and the Mariners will play the winner of the Muhlenberg College-Stevens Institute of Technology game, which will be played on Sunday. The site, date and time of the game is still to be determined. Please continue to check www.usmmasports.com for any updates regarding Kings Point soccer's battle in the Sweet 16.