VC
Clauss

CANTON, N.Y. -- Vassar tied top-ranked St. Lawrence 0-0 and advanced to the Liberty League Championship game on penalty kicks 3-1 on Wednesday.

“St. Lawrence is the No. 1 team in the country for a reason; they're tremendously skillful and a well-coached team,” head coach Andy Jennings said. “We managed to stay with them. Both teams battled hard and it came down to the PKs.”

The Brewers (10-5-3, 4-3-1) snapped the Saints' (16-0-1, 8-0) 16-game winning streak and will travel to Rochester Institute of Technology (11-6-2, 5-2-1) for the Liberty Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 5. The No. 3 seed RIT defeated the No. 2 seed Hobart 2-0 in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Up against the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) six-week national No. 1 and the only undefeated and untied team remaining in Division III, Vassar dug in for 110 minutes of scoreless soccer to force a penalty shoot-out.

Vassar junior Gary Clauss, who was subbed into goal for Ryan Grimme in the first overtime, made two diving saves on the Saints' first two attempts to give Vassar a 1-0 lead after senior Sam Erlichson-McCarthy scored on the first penalty kick.

“Ryan kept us in the game, made some tremendous saves and was a massive presence in the back,” Jennings said. “Gary is a tremendous shot-stopper. The way he practiced on Monday, we knew he would be the guy for a shoot-out.”

Senior captain Ross Macklin connected on Vassar's third attempt and Alex Laird matched his effort to bring St. Lawrence within a tally at 2-1 after three rounds.

Other Liberty League Results
No. 3 RIT 2, No. 2 Hobart 0
Conference Championship Central

Junior captain Zander Mrlik struck Vassar's third point for a 3-1 Vassar lead. With a chance to keep the Saints alive, Mark Provost's attempt sailed right and Vassar celebrated its 3-1 win on penalty kicks.

St. Lawrence tested the Brewer defense with a 29-12 advantage in shots and a 13-5 edge in corners but Vassar held stout. Grimme made a career-high 15 saves in goal.

“As a unit we defended really well and we had a play on one of their better players,” Jennings said. “Facing the stiff wind, they put a ton of pressure on us in the first period but we made some adjustments to hold them.”

This is the program's first trip to the Liberty League Championship game.