Nov. 15, 2008

Courtesy of Ohio Wesleyan Athletics

DELAWARE, Ohio - Freshman forward Matt Bonfini (Dublin/Coffman) scored with :02 left in the second overtime period to lift Ohio Wesleyan over Susquehanna in a first-round matchup of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday at Roy Rike Field.

Ohio Wesleyan advances to face Carnegie Mellon, a 3-0 winner over Calvin in Friday's opener, in a second-round contest scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday at Roy Rike Field. Ticket prices for Saturday's game will be $6 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $3 for students with ID, and $2 for children ages 3-12. There will be no re-entry, and no containers are permitted.

With time running out in the second overtime, the Bishop defense sent the ball forward to Bonfini on the left side. Bonfini took the ball into the box, maneuvered around a Susquehanna defender and blistered a shot into the right side of the Crusader goal with 2 ticks left on the clock.

Bonfini had the Bishops' first good chance of the game, taking a through ball from sophomore forward Tyler Wall (Columbus/Upper Arlington) and going in on Susquehanna keeper B.J. Merriam only to see Merriam record a save.

That would be the theme of the first half, as Ohio Wesleyan outshot Susquehanna by a margin of 9-2 but Merriam kept the game scoreless by making 5 saves, including a pair of shots by sophomore midfielder Ryan Harmanis (Hilliard/Davidson) during the second half of the opening period.

The Crusaders manufactured some chances to open the second half, forcing Bishop keeper Richard Ott (Norwalk) to make a pair of saves in the first 3 minutes of action.

Harmanis came back with a header in the 53rd minute, with Merriam going up to punch the ball over the crossbar.  Merriam followed with a save of a shot from sophomore back Eric Laipple (Westerville/South) on the Bishops' ensuing corner kick.

In the closing minutes of regulation, Laipple sent a through ball to Wall, whose shot went past the goal mouth and an onrushing Bonfini.

The Bishops nearly ended the game in the closing seconds of regulation time when Wall's lead pass freed Bonfini on a breakaway. With time running out, Merriam came out to challenge the play but Bonfini got around him. Facing an empty goal from a difficult angle, Bonfini tried to beat the clock but his shot was wide and the game went into overtime.

Junior midfielder Phil Serfaty (Dublin/Jerome) had the only shot on goal during the first overtime period, sending a restart into the Crusader penalty area, with Merriam making a routine save in the closing seconds.

Bonfini had a good look in the second overtime, but Merriam was there for the save in the 103rd minute, and a minute later, it was Bonfini taking a through pass from Harmanis and breaking in on the Crusader goal but whistling a shot over the crossbar.

Ohio Wesleyan outshot Susquehanna, 28-15. Ott finished with 2 saves for the Bishops, while Merriam made 11 saves for Susquehanna.

In Friday's first matchup, Carnegie Mellon's Ricky Griffin had 2 goals and an assist to highlight a 3-goal second-half eruption that gave the Tartans their first NCAA Division III playoff win since 2001.

Carnegie Mellon enjoyed the edge in play during the first half, outshooting Calvin by a margin of 12-3, but the Tartans were not able to apply that advantage to the scoreboard.

That changed during the second half. In the 60th minute, Griffin sent a pass ahead to Ryan Browne, who headed up the middle to the Knight goal and fired a shot that glanced off the arm of Calvin keeper Darrin Cline and trickled into the net.

Two minutes later, the Tartans were on the attack again and Patrick Lutz took a shot from inside the penalty area. Cline made the save, but the rebound went to Griffin, who hit the corner of the net to increase the Carnegie Mellon lead to 2-0.

Griffin finished off the scoring by weaving through the Knight defense and slipping a shot inside the left post in the 84th minute.

Carnegie Mellon outshot Calvin, 23-12. Carnegie Mellon's Matthew Bazin finished with 1 save, while Cline had 3 saves for Calvin.