BABSON PARK, Mass. — Babson senior Salomon Guindi recorded an assist on the game-tying goal late in regulation and then made two huge saves in penalty kicks to help the Beavers advance past visiting Trinity (Conn.) in a sensational second-round game of the 2011 NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon. The Beavers and Bantams officially finished in a 1-1 double-overtime tie, with Babson (16-2-4) winning the penalty kick round, 3-0, to move on to next weekend’s sectional play.
Both teams played well defensively in the scoreless first half, limiting the opposing offenses to few quality chances. Trinity (11-5-3) had the first solid chance of the afternoon when senior Dan Mayernick took a thru ball at the top of the box with space before missing wide of the left post at 2:30. Babson then gained its first strong opportunity approximately 12 minutes later, but junior Jimmy Stento’s rocket from just outside the box on the left side sailed over the crossbar at 14:05.
Both teams saw their best scoring chances of the opening period come in the final eight minutes. Trinity’s came when Mayernick challenged for a ball deep in the Babson box to draw senior keeper Peter Crowley off the line. Bantam sophomore Wesley Simon’s follow-up shot then beat Crowley to his right, but it carried just wide of the left post at 37:25. At the other end, Babson’s best look of the half came when junior Eric Anderson intercepted an attempted clear three yards outside the box, but his shot was blocked and then caught by Trinity senior goalie Grant Schonbergwith just over a minute left in the period.
The Beavers had another fantastic chance five minutes into the second half, beginning when sophomore Thomas Elbling sent a pass well into the Bantams’ box. A Trinity defender then deflected it back out to a wide-open Anderson, but his blast from 14 yards out was denied by a brilliant diving save from Schonberg that pushed the ball beyond the left post.
Babson continued to apply intense offensive pressure for the rest of regulation, but the hosts failed to put the majority of their best chances on net. Sophomore Mike Fisher took a shot off his own volley from directly in front in the 60th minute, but his off-balance bid went high. Later, junior Ayo Iwuagwu outran a trio of defenders down the middle of the field, but his ensuing shot attempt rolled wide of the left post at 77:45.
Despite having few opportunities in the second stanza, it was Trinity that finally broke the scoreless deadlock with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation. After a charging Crowley had trouble corralling a bouncing cross 15 yards out, first-year forward Timothy Shea knocked the loose ball toward the left side. He then ran it down near the edge of the box and ripped a shot into the wide open net for the game’s first marker at 81:51. For the Bantams’ rookie striker, it was his fourth goal of the season and the second of the tournament.
It remained a 1-0 game until the final moments of the second half, when Babson earned a corner kick with just over three minutes on the clock. Guindi then sent a perfect ball from the right corner into the center of the box, where Anderson charged in and headed it past Shonberg to knot the score at 1-1 at 87:50. It was Anderson’s team-leading 15th goal of the season and his third of the tourney.
Trinity threatened again in the closing seconds of regulation, as Mayernick found space up the middle of the field. He then got off a desperation shot from 18 yards out with a defender bearing down on him, pushing it a few yards wide of the left post at the horn sounded.
Mayernick created yet another chance for the Bantams less than a minute into the first overtime, sending a beautiful thru ball to streaking junior Anthony El-Hachem down the left side of the Babson box. However, Crowley came charging out of net and got there just before El-Hachem, knocking it beyond the junior’s reach and then pouncing on it at 90:54. The Beavers’ best chance of the first OT came less than a minute later, beginning when senior captain Max Walker found Iwuagwu breaking up the middle. Iwuagwu then made a quick move and ripped a shot from the center of the box, but his bid was blocked by a Trinity defender in front of Schonberg and knocked wide of the left post.
The second overtime once again saw Iwuagwu nearly break free off a lead pass from Walker, but this time Schonberg came well out of net to intercept the ball eight yards outside the box at 103:50. Stento then had the best chance for either team in the extra session when he gathered the ball at the top of the box off a defensive deflection and made a move to gain space, but his shot attempt went just wide of the right post at 108:05.
After the contest officially ended in a 1-1 tie, Guindi switched jerseys and made the first goalkeeping appearance of his collegiate career during penalty kicks. He immediately came up with two gigantic saves on Trinity’s first two attempts — both diving stops to his right — while Beavers’ senior captain Clint Mason and Walker each made good on their first two kicks to give the hosts a 2-0 lead after two rounds. The Bantams’ third attempt then missed wide right, allowing Anderson to clinch the 3-0 PK win when he converted Babson’s third bid.
Shonberg finished with four saves for Trinity, while Crowley made two stops for Babson. The Beavers held a slim 18-17 margin in shots for the game, although the Bantams had a 4-3 edge in the overtime periods.
“I thought we played an excellent first half,” Babson head coach Jon Anderson said after the game. “We made no adjustments at halftime because we thought if we played that way we’d eventually get a goal. Obviously we got one scored on us but the boys fought back and got the equalizer. It was a classic game, no question about it.”
“It was a great game,” Trinity head coach Mike Pilger said. “The score could have easily been seven to eight. We didn’t lose this game. I was proud of the way our guys played.”
The Beavers now move on to their second consecutive appearance in the third round, where they will face either Wesleyan or Rutgers-Camden. The time and location of that contest will be announced by the NCAA. Babson now boasts a 20-game unbeaten streak since losing their first two games of the year — one game shy of the program record set between the 1975 and 1976 seasons.