Nov. 13, 2010

Courtesy of William Paterson Athletics

MIDDLEBURY, VT. - William Paterson (14-3-3) rallied from a first-half deficit to stay alive in postseason play, defeating Thomas (11-6-2), 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament Nov. 13 in Middlebury, Vt. The Pioneers advance to play the host Panthers (14-3-1), a 2-1 winner against Daniel Webster (12-6-1), in the second round Sunday, Nov. 14, at 1:00 p.m. A live video feed of the match will be available at www.gomidd.tv.

Making just its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the program's history (1979, first round), William Paterson earned its first-ever NCAA victory thanks to a pair of second-half goals. The Pioneers had two chances early on, but could not get on the board during the first period. New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Midfielder of the Year Julian Valerio (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) had a good look in the 17th minute, but was denied by a sliding save from Mikkail Crockwell. Freshman Mike Lowe (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. DuPont) found a streaking Ryan Miller (Colonia, N.J./Colonia) at the 23:55 mark, but his shot was denied by Crockwell.

Thomas turned things around and took a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute on the fourth strike of the year from Dence Manguda. Dylan Keller fed Manguda, who dribbled towards the goal and scored with a shot to the upper-right corner.

The Pioneers almost tied the game with less than a minute to go in the half on a corner, but the ball was cleared away after a scramble in the goal crease.

William Paterson eventually tied the match less than five minutes into the second half, when Valerio scored his team-leading ninth of the season. Junior Anthony Ferrer (Lake Hiawatha, N.J./Parsippany) fed Valerio, who rocketed a shot into the back of the net from 10 yards out.

The Pioneers netted the game winner just over 12 minutes later, when freshman Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) scored his seventh goal of the year. Eze worked a give-and-go with Valerio, who earned his team-leading eighth helper of the season when Eze scored with a shot into the right side of the goal during the 62nd minute.

Thomas' best chance to tie the contest came just minutes later, but Casey Castle's shot was denied by Pioneer keeper Zach Collins (Bayville, N.J./Central Regional), who came out to cut off the angle and deflect the shot wide.

William Patterson held a 12-4 advantage in shots and a 13-1 lead in corner kicks in the match. Collins made one save to earn the win, while Crockwell had four stops for the Terriers. The win allowed the Pioneers to tie their own program record with 14 victories this season, matching the previous best established by the 1979 squad.