Nov. 23, 2008

 

Courtesy of Middlebury

HOBOKEN, N.J. (November 23, 2008) – For the first time in the history of Stevens Institute of Technology Athletics, a team is in the national semifinals. The Stevens men's soccer team advanced in penalty kicks (4-3) over defending national champion Middlebury College on Sunday night in Hoboken, N.J. Sophomore goalkeeper Zach Carr (Carmel, Ind.) made two huge saves in goal, and senior captain Craig Moquin (Breinigsville, Pa.) came through when he banged home the final shot of the penalty-kick round to send the Ducks dancing to a December 5 NCAA Divisional III Men’s Soccer Championship semifinal matchup with Amherst College in Greensboro, N.C.

 

After 110 minutes of play, the two teams were deadlocked at one apiece and a shootout was needed to determine who would advance to the national semifinals.

 

Middlebury shot first and Carr immediately gave the Ducks the advantage by making a diving save to his right on a Nolan Lincoln (Thetford, Vt.) shot. Senior captain Jason Nachman (Johnson City, N.J.) put Stevens up 1-0 in the shootout for the second-straight night as he blasted a shot to the lower left past Middlebury’s senior keeper Brian Bush (Madison, Wis.).

 

Freshman Otis Pitney (Washington, D.C.) pulled Middlebury even, but Stevens rookie Pete Bednarsky (Hackettstown, N.J.) came through with a perfect shot in the upper-right corner to put the Ducks on top, 2-1. Carr made another save, and senior captain Jeremy Lippel (West Orange, N.J.) had a chance to give the Ducks a commanding lead but his shot to the middle left corner was stopped by Bush.

 

Senior Brendan Campbell (Canaan, Conn.) tied the shootout at two, and Stevens sophomore Nolan Sandberg (Round Lake Park, Ill.) gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead by firing a laser into the top-right corner. Freshman Robbie Redmond (Morristown, N.J.) knotted the score at three, but Moquin delivered with a perfect shot in the left corner on the final penalty kick.

 

Moquin played a huge game for the Ducks as he set up their first-half goal. Moquin controlled in his own zone and lofted a long lead pass to junior Terrence Johnson (New Orleans, La.). Johnson gathered the ball just inside the right side of the box, held off the defender, and put a perfect shot across the goal into the left corner. It was Johnson’s 14th tally of the season and ended a Middlebury streak in which the Panthers had not allowed a goal in 814 minutes (eight-plus games) of NCAA Tournament play. The shootout loss for the Panthers is the first its last four tries in NCAA play over the past two seasons.

 

The Stevens goal was the only strong scoring chance for both sides in a first half that saw Middlebury control possession and field position for about 65 percent of the stanza.

 

The second half was evenly played as both squads had some good runs on net. Ten minutes in, the Panthers (15-2-4) had a solid chance in front of the Stevens goal but one shot was blocked and another went just wide.

 

Middlebury evened the score with a nice goal in the 64th minute of action. Sophomore Carson Cornbrooks (Williston, Vt.) controlled a loose ball just outside the top of the box on the right side. He lofted a pass to the left side of the goalie box where Baer Fisher (Kenilworth, Ill.) was for the easy score.

 

The Ducks had two solid chances to take the lead but just missed on both. Johnson broke free down the middle after a header, but could not get an ideal shot on the bouncing ball. His rip sailed high and the score remained tied with 29 minutes left. In the first overtime period with 1:33 left, Lippel broke free down the middle of the field using his great speed. He ripped a shot from the top of the box that was punched up and over the crossbar by Bush as Lippel had to rush a with a pair of defenders on his back.

 

Stevens ended the contest with a 12-11 edge in shots and a 5-3 advantage in corners. The Ducks outshot Middlebury 7-2 in the two overtime periods to take some momentum and confidence into the shootout.

 

In the penalty-kick wins during the Sectional semifinal and final, Carr saved a remarkable six of 10 attempts and is a huge reason the Ducks will be playing for a berth in the national championship game.

 

Stevens will advance to play Amherst College, who like Middlebury, is from the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The other national semifinal match will feature Messiah College and Loras College. The two winners will meet in the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship final on Saturday, December 6.