SUNYO
Rivera

Canton, N.Y. -- Freshman midfielder Justin Rivera scored his fifth goal of the season with 3:31 left in the second sudden-death overtime period, giving Oneonta State a 2-1 victory against St. Lawrence on Saturday to propel the Red Dragons into the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

With the victory, Oneonta set a program record for wins in a season as they are now 17-2-2 overall. The Red Dragons, who lost to St. Lawrence on Sandy MacAllaster Field back on Sep. 3, handed the Saints their first loss of the season while extending its program record unbeaten streak to 18 games. 

“It's been a pretty good run,” Oneonta coach Ian Byrne said. “We were kind of hanging on in the first half, but we did have some chances. We are two evenly matched teams and either team could have won either game this season.”

Neither team scored in the first half with Oneonta playing with the wind. The Red Dragons got just one shot through to SLU goalie Brian Abernethy, which he saved, and while the Saints had some chances, Oneonta goalie Maxwell Siegelman was able to stop all four shots on goal.

The Saints came out strong to start the second half, but Brian Gilloran was just wide on a header with 30 minutes left in the half and Siegelman knocked aside a shot by Sam DeMello on a restart six minutes later. The Dragons finally opened the scoring at the 73:08 mark as junior midfielder Jeff Christian hit a hard shot from 22 yards out which went over a leaping Abernethy and into the upper right hand corner of the net.

St. Lawrence, which finishes its season 18-1-1, came back to tie the game just over four minutes later as DeMello scored his 14th goal of the season off a corner kick play. JJ Tipton made a short corner kick out to senior Mike Manfredi about 20 yards out and Manfredi sent a ball into the goal area which DeMello headed past Siegelman to tie the game at 77:20.

The Saints nearly went ahead minutes later in a wild scramble following a corner, but Siegelman managed to keep the ball out of the net while on his back and his defense cleared a second SLU scoring attempt. SLU nearly found the go-ahead goal again with 5:30 left in regulation when Gilloran went in alone, but his shot sailed outside the far post.

Neither team scored in the first overtime period with Oneonta getting off three shots to one for the Saints. Rivera's game-winning play came as a ball deflected off a Saint defender and he turned inside at the top of the penalty area and rifled a shot to the left corner for the win.

“I thought we needed one with the wind to have a chance, but we fought back and kept our composure,” Byrne said. “It was a great soccer game.”

Siegelman finished with nine saves for the Red Dragons while Abernethy had six for the Saints. SLU had a slight 19-18 edge in total shots and the Saints had an 8-7 edge in corner kicks.