Nov. 14, 2009

Courtesy of Swarthmore Athletics

SWARTHMORE, Pa. - An own goal off the head of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's Josh Reicks with just 04.6 seconds remaining in the first half was the difference as the Swarthmore College Garnet (15-2-2) rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to defeat the Mariners 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division III men's soccer championships Saturday evening from Clothier Field Stadium.

Junior Gage Newman scored the equalizer in the 30th minute for the Garnet, who fell behind 1-0 in the first five minutes of play thanks to a USMMA (15-4) goal by Rusty Denton in the fifth minute of play. But Newman's goal and the crucial own goal as seconds ticked away in the first half were enough to advance the Garnet to the second round of the NCAA Division III men's soccer championships tomorrow against Hobart (6:00 p.m.) from Clothier Field Stadium.

Junior captain Zach Weimar was outstanding in net for Swarthmore, making seven saves - including three saves from point-blank range in a matter of seconds in the 62nd minute to preserve the win.

The Mariners - playing in front a raucous crowd of over 600 which was mostly sporting Garnet colors - wasted no time silencing the fans, scoring just five minutes after the opening whistle. USMMA's Hollis Irvine beat his defender down the right side, crossing to teammate Denton in the front of the net, who then converted for his third goal of the season, giving the Mariners the early 1-0 lead.

Swarthmore found the equalizer in the 30th minute. Freshman Kieran Reichart send a cross from the right side into the front of the net where defender Newman rose above the pack and headed the ball home for his fourth goal of the season, tying the game 1-1.

The Garnet took the lead for good with some help from the Mariners in the closing second of the first half. With the seconds ticking down under 10, senior captain Dylan Langley sent a cross from the right corner into the front of the net, where the Mariners' Reicks headed the ball into his own net for the own goal with just 04.6 seconds remaining in the first half, giving the Garnet a 2-1 lead that would last for the remainder of the game.

The Mariners nearly tied the game with a flurry of shots in the 62nd minute, but Swarthmore goalkeeper Weimar may have saved the game and season with three saves in a matter of seconds. First, he saved a header shot from USMMA's Ryan Hadley, which then deflected into the box. From there - despite being out of position and on the ground - saved the point blank shots of the Mariners' Denton and Michael Dunn to end the scoring threat.

From there, the two evenly-matched teams battled to the final whistle, but the Garnet defense held strong to earn the 2-1 win.

In goal for USMMA, Gary Poulin made one save.

The Mariners finished with 16-10 edge in shots and a 8-5 edge in shots on goal.

The Garnet are now 9-0-1 for the season at Clothier Field Stadium.

Swarthmore will face Hobart tomorrow at 6:00 from Clothier Field Stadium in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's soccer action for the right to advance to sectionals.