Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Millersville

Millersville, Pa. - The Millersville University men's soccer team went where no other team in the program's history had gone before, reaching the NCAA Tournament and advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.  However, the record-setting season came to a close Saturday night at Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium after the Marauders played to a 1-1 tie and eventually fell, 5-4, on penalty kicks to Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Tournament.

The two teams played to a 1-1 tie after two overtime periods and the game was sent to a five-shot sudden death shootout.  Northern Kentucky connected on all five shots while Millersville was able to convert on only four, sending Northern Kentucky to its first Final Four appearance in school history.  The Norse were appearing in their third-straight NCAA quarterfinal game and had advanced to this year's game after winning the midwest region in a penalty kick shootout over Lewis University in the region finale.

Millersville midfielder Shane Seabrook heroically tied the game at one apiece with less than six minutes remaining in regulation after taking a feed from forward Sean McLaughlin and heading the ball off the crossbar and past Northern Kentucky goalkeeper Michael Lavric.  Millersville's season was appearing to be coming to an end before the Seabrook goal gave the Marauders new life.

The Norse made a strong effort to end the game in regulation just two minutes later when forward Tony Ray got free in the box and headed a ball towards the upper right corner of the goal.  Millersville goalkeeper Matt Langione made a miraculous diving save with his fingertips to preserve the 1-1 score.

The Marauders nearly scored a game-winner of their own with 28 second remaining in regulation when Ryan Kiley sent a shot towards an unguarded Northern Kentucky net, only to see a Norse defender clear the ball out just before it crossed the goal line.

Both teams played a very conservative game in the overtime periods as Millersville managed the only shot midway through the first overtime.

Northern Kentucky scored its only goal of the match in the 34th minute when forward Branden Bishop headed a ball past Langione.  The goal was the eighth of the season for Bishop and allowed Northern Kentucky to sit back on defense throughout the remainder of the contest.  The Norse were also without their leading scorer, Stephen Beattie, who was forced to sit out after picking up his eighth yellow card of the season in the team's previous match.

The two teams played a very physical match combining for 40 fouls in the game.  Despite holding a 15-11 advantage in shots, the Norse were held to only three shots on goal.  Langione made two saves for the Marauders while Lavric made five for NKU.

McLaughlin, who's chip from the endline resulted in the game-tying score, ends his Marauder career in fourth-place on Millersville's all time scoring list with 34 goals.  The team will also say goodbye to seniors Matthew Procopio, Ryan Kiley and Neil Peterson.

The Marauders, picked to finish third in the Eastern Division, exceeded all expectations by advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.  The team reached the program's first-ever PSAC Championship Game and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.  The team avenged its championship game loss to California (Pa.) in the first round and claimed the Atlantic Region title by defeating Slippery Rock in the second round.  The team, coached by PSAC Eastern Division Coach of the Year Steve Widdowson, set the school record for wins (18) in a season previously held by the 2002 team that won 14 games.