Nov. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Transylvania Athletics

Transylvania junior Tony Spero scored the game-winning goal in the ninth minute of overtime Thursday, giving the Pioneers a 2-1 win over  Capital in opening round play in the NCAA Division III National Championships.

The Pioneers (15-3-1) brought an 11-match winning streak into the contest against the Crusaders (16-5-2), winners of the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament.

Transy now travels to Delaware, Ohio, on Sunday to take on top-ranked Ohio Wesleyan (18-1-2). That match starts at 6 p.m. with the winner moving into sectional play.

The Pioneers were in the NCAA Championship field for the fifth time in six years while the Crusaders were in the field for the first time.

Transy led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Brian Williams at the 21:50. Capital tied the score at 1-1 on Steven McCarthy's goal in the 61st minute. That was all the scoring until Spero took a pass to the near post from Jake Ruckman and headed the ball past the keeper with 90 seconds left in the 10-minute overtime period.

Capital outshot the Pioneers 28-11, including 12-5 in attempts on goal. Transy's Trey Kramer made 10 saves in goal. Capital also had a 14-2 edge in corners.

The Crusaders had three quicks shots over the first five minutes of overtime before Transy's Peter Mikhail made an attempt that was saved at the 94:47 mark. Spero's goal came after Capital tried a corner, but was called off sides. Less than two minutes later, Ruckman found Spero for the game-winner at 98:29.