Millersville slips by Bloomsburg
Baffuto tallies game’s only goal to lead Marauders to PSAC title
MILLERSVILLE, Pa. -- Millersville senior Pat Baffuto, who was making his third appearance in the PSAC title game, tapped in what was the only goal of the game in the 18th minute to propel the Marauders past Bloomsburg to win their first PSAC championship in school history by a score of 1-0 on Saturday night.
Prior to Saturday, Millersville had finished runner-up five times including twice under head coach Steve Widdowson (2008 and '09). And the Marauders won the title in classic Widdowson fashion, shutting out Bloomsburg with smothering defense, solid goalkeeping and an opportunistic offensive attack.
Millersville (12-6-1) started the championship game like a continuation of the semifinal game in which it dominated California (Pa.) from start to finish. The Marauders fired three of its first four shots on goal early in the game. Bloomsburg goalkeeper Bernie Roell kept his composure, making saves on all three shots to stave off the Millersville attack.
In the 18th minute, the Marauders earned a free kick 20 yards out when Aaron Roland was fouled driving into the offensive zone. Sophomore Colby Zeger lined up the free kick and sent it to the far side of the box. Roland, who was lined up to the right of the goal, headed the ball to the center of the box. Baffuto found the loose ball and tapped it past Roell to give Millersville a 1-0 advantage.
Millersville continued to put pressure on Bloomsburg (7-9-2) late in the half, outshooting the Huskies 7-1 in the stanza. Bloomsburg registered its first shot of the game off a corner attempt when a header went high over the crossbar.
The Huskies were unable to contain Millersville defensively, racking up 10 fouls in the first half alone as they attempted to slow down the Marauders. Millersville registered just two fouls in the half.
Bloomsburg picked up its pace in the second half registering seven shots, including five on goal. The Huskies developed a promising scoring chance in the 58th minute. Alex Rufhass came down the left side with the ball and put a shot on goal that was caught by Marauder goalkeeper Brad Benzing to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of Millersville with 32 minutes remaining
|Other Conference Championship Games|
|CACC||Nayack 1, Post 0|
|GLIAC||Tiffin 2, Northwood 2 (Tiffin wins on penalty kicks)|
|WVIAC||Charleston (W.Va.) 4, Wheeling Jesuit 1|
|• Conference Championship Central|
The Marauders didn't let up in the second half either, putting eight more shots towards Roell. Millersville finished the game with a 15-8 shot advantage.
The physical play also picked up in the second session. Both teams finished the side with nine fouls. The most important foul was Bloomsburg's in the 85th minute. The Huskies' Nate Conrad received a red card, eliminating him from the game, for swinging at a Marauder near the Bloomsburg bench.
Millersville controlled the final 15 minutes to earn its first PSAC championship.
Benzing made five saves to secure his eighth shutout and second consecutive of the playoffs. Benzing moves into third all-time in single-season shutouts, three off the record (11) by current assistant coach Matt Langione.
Baffuto, who scored his sixth goal of the season, was honored as the PSAC Championship Most Valuable Player for his game-winning goal.