USMMA Advances to NCAA Final Eight for First Time in Academy History
Nov. 20, 2010
Courtesy of USMMA Athletics
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - On Saturday, the United States Merchant Marine Academy mens soccer team defeated Muhlenberg College in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III Tournament by a final score of 1-0 at Varsity Field in Allentown, Pa. With the victory, the Mariners improved to 13-2-5 on the season and will face the winner of the Medaille-Messiah battle tomorrow afternoon in the Elite 8 round.
Kings Point took a 1-0 lead when senior midfielder Dan Twito (Cedar Falls, Iowa) scored his fifth goal of the season in the 19th minute of play. Fellow senior midfielder Lane Gould (Greenville, Texas) fired a shot at Muhlenberg senior goalkeeper Jason Daniels (Delmar, N.Y.), who knocked it down for the save, but was not able to hold onto it. The ball trickled out to Twito who drilled it into the wide open net to put USMMA ahead.
The Mariners defense played a huge role in this game as it kept Muhlenbergs nine second-half shots at bay. The Mules (13-3-6) outshot the Mariners, 16-15, but USMMA had the edge in corner kicks (4-2).
For Kings Point, sophomore goalie Gary Poulin (Hauppauge, N.Y.) stopped two shots, while Daniels recorded eight saves for Muhlenberg.
Tomorrow's game will mark the first time in Academy history that a Kings Point team has reached the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament.
"We were concerned emotionally how the game would start off and we handled the game well. In the first half, we played very well, kept possession and were able to create a bunch of chances early on. Lane Gould was dangerous on the right side the entire first half and the goal came from him getting a shot. Twito did a great job on the rebound. We were disappointed that we weren't able to cash in on a couple of great opportunities. Sam Tubb and Ryan (Silveira) had some good opportunities, hitting the cross bar," Head Coach Michael Smolens commented after the win.
"Overall we were pleased how it went. In the second half, we knew that they would come out pressing us. We did a good job defensively staying composed and keeping the number of opportunities to a minimum. Although we had some opportunities to go up by two goals, as a team we defended very well and that got us the win. And certainly in any match they were pushing it the last ten and we were able to keep them scoreless. We are proud of the entire team. It was a total team effort to get us here and are very excited about the prospect of playing tomorrow."