LOWELL, Mass. – Sophomore Juan Moreira headed home a corner kick in the 88th minute as UMass-Lowell defeated top-seeded LIU Post 1-0 on Sunday in the NCAA tournament second round at Cushing Field.
With the victory, UMass-Lowell improved to 15-5-1 and moves on to meet Southern New Hampshire with a chance at a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
LIU Post ends its season with an 18-2 record.
“I thought we did a very good job of keeping them off the board,” head coach Christian Figueroa said. “I knew we would come out to play. We had to. I think we earned it.”
The victory tied UMass-Lowell’s school record for wins in a season. It also avenged LIU Post’s 3-0 victory against the River Hawks on Oct. 10 in Brookville, N.Y.
Moreira scored the game-winner after the River Hawks earned a corner kick on the right side. Senior Bruno Bonicontro steered the kick to Moreira at the far post, whose header bounced between a pair of LIU Post defenders inside the right post.
“I think Juan has the bragging rights for the rest of this week,” Figueroa said. “He earned it.”
Just minutes prior, UMass-Lowell’s best opportunity came when junior Daniel Galvin weaved his way into the box, found space and ripped a low, hard shot under LIU Post goalkeeper Matthias Spinnars, who made a partial stop. Junior Eirik Bjoernoe was there to clear the ball.
Galvin had four shots on target and earned the pivotal corner kick, which Moreira converted when Morais took a pass from the back off his chest and flicked to Galvin on the run. Spinnars deflected Galvin’s shot wide, setting up Bonicontro’s corner kick.
“We had opportunities in getting behind them, which [gave] us opportunities to score,” Figueroa said.
In the first half, Morais and Galvin nearly scored on a similar play as Morais settled and crossed from the left side to Galvin at the far post. Galvin’s side shot sailed wide left.
LIU Post had several chances of its own and nearly converted on consecutive plays in the 56th minute, which brought out the best of junior goalkeeper Chris Maierle. Junior Cemil Turan took a through ball by the UMass-Lowell defense, but Maierle read the play well and smothered Turan’s attempt.
LIU Post got the rebound, and nearly capitalized on a similar play, but Maierle was ready and saved the shot by freshman Per Forgaard.
In the 80th minute, Turan crossed to Forgaard on a right-side run to the box, but Forgaard sent his attempt over the bar.
UMass-Lowell outshot LIU Post 25-14 overall and 11-4 on target. Maierle stopped four shots while Spinnars had 10 saves.