Rutgers-Camden edges Babson
Grotti’s goal helps Raptors snap Beavers’ 20-game win streak
CANTON, N.Y. -- Sophomore Mitch Grotti scored the game’s lone goal in the 30th minute and senior goalie Tim VanLiew made nine saves in net to lead Rutgers-Camden to a 1-0 victory against the Babson in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. With the win, the ninth-ranked Scarlet Raptors (19-2-2) advance to Sunday’s national quarterfinals, where they will face SUNY Oneonta which knocked off host Saint Lawrence 2-1, in double overtime in Saturday’s first contest.
With its first loss since Sept. 3, No. 11 Babson sees its Division III-leading 20-game unbeaten streak come to an end. The Beavers finished their outstanding 2011 campaign with a record of 16-3-4.
Babson had the majority of the chances in the first half of play, outshooting the Scarlet Raptors, 8-3. The Beavers’ best opportunity came in the 22nd minute, when senior Ryan Obolewicz found space at the top of the box and hit a rocket toward the upper left corner. However, VanLiew made a fantastic lunging save to his right, knocking the shot beyond the post to keep Babson off the board.
The Scarlet Raptors struck not long after, as Grotti netted the game’s only goal at 29:50. The play started with first-year Corey Beltran taking a hard shot from the middle of the box that was saved by Babson senior Peter Crowley. The rebound then caromed directly to Grotti, who blasted into the center of the open net for his team-leading 18th goal of the season.
“Any time you can get an early goal in a big game it eases the nerves and gives you some confidence,” said Rutgers-Camden coach Tim Oswald after his team tied the program record for an unbeaten streak with its 17th consecutive match without a loss.
“We struggled a little early on, but Mitch’s goal gave us a boost and we were able to hold Babson off at the end. Corey has had a great NCAA tournament for us and he has been a factor with his speed. He did it again today and Mitch finished the play off,” Oswald said.
The Beavers threatened twice in the final four minutes of the opening period, but VanLiew denied them on both occasions. He came off the line to intercept a dangerous cross by first-year Shawn Citro at the 41-minute mark and then smothered an off-balance shot by falling junior Eric Anderson with just over a minute remaining.
“Tim VanLiew has been phenomenal throughout his career. He has played every match this season and has given us great leadership,” Oswald said.
Babson had a golden opportunity 10 seconds into the second half, as senior captain Max Walker beat several defenders and broke in alone on VanLiew. Walker then took aim at the near upper 90 from the left side of the six-yard box, but his shot attempt sailed just over the crossbar.
The Beavers poured on intense offensive pressure over the final 20 minutes of regulation but failed to come up with the tying goal. Their most dangerous chances came in the final seven minutes, beginning when sophomore Mike Fisher followed up a rebound of junior Jimmy Stento’s blocked shot and fired it a yard over the crossbar from the top of the box at 83:33. Fisher then had another bid at 84:43, when his header off a cross from senior Salomon Guindi went past the diving hands of VanLiew but wide of the left post.
Babson threatened again when Guindi’s corner kick from the left side found the head of junior Ayo Iwuagwu in the center of the box, but his deflection carried just over the crossbar at 87:52. The Beavers then had one final chance with just over a minute remaining, but Anderson’s header off a long cross from Citro fell right into the hands of VanLiew as Rutgers-Camden came away with the 1-0 victory.
Babson’s all-time leader in goalkeeper victories, Crowley finished with six saves in the final game of his brilliant collegiate career. The Beavers held a 20-13 shot advantage in the contest, as well as a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.