Millersvile upends Mercyhurst
Freshman goalkeeper helps Marauders shutout Lakers
MILLERSVILLE, Pa. -- Brad Benzing is a redshirt freshman but for the fourth consecutive game, he looked like a four-year starter in goal for Millersville.
In Thursday's NCAA tournament opening-round game, Benzing made 11 saves to push the Marauders into the second round with a 1-0 win against fourth-seeded Mercyhurst.
Mercyhurst (10-8) controlled the ball for much of the first half in its offensive zone, outshooting the Marauders 11-7. Millersville (13-6-1) did not fire a shot on goal until late in the first half. The Marauders' second shot on goal turned out to be the most important one of the game.
In the 38th minute, senior Eric Pepper sent in a corner attempt from the far side of the field. The ball soared over senior Aaron Roland, a typical scorer from a corner kick, and found freshman Brian Dingle who headed the ball towards the goal. The ball bounced off the ground and into the lower left corner of the goal to give Millersville a 1-0 lead into the break.
Benzing kept the game 1-0 by making five of his 11 saves in the first half.
The Lakers didn't let up their offensive attack in the second half, firing 12 more shots, six on goal. Mercyhurst gained six corners and held the Marauders to just three shots, none on goal in the second half.
Late in the second side, Pat Baffuto broke away from a defender on the baseline and centered the ball to Andrew Dukes who tapped it just wide. It was the only real scoring chance for Millersville in the second half.
Dingle, who scored the game's only goal, earned a second yellow card in the 82nd minute to give the Lakers a man advantage for the final eight minutes of play.
Benzing stood strong and shut down all Mercyhurst scoring chances, including a stop with his leg on a straight-on shot from the Lakers with minutes remaining. Millersville wasted out the clock in the final minute by kicking the ball deep down field on every steal it made from the Mercyhurst attack.
Benzing finished the game with 11 saves, a career-high, to earn his fourth consecutive shutout and ninth of the season. Benzing has yet to allow a goal in the postseason. The team is now one shutout shy of tying the school record for shutouts in a season.