Lynn reaches national quarterfinals
Fighting Knights best rival Barry in penalty kicks to advance
WINTER PARK, Fla. -- The stage was set for two long time rivals to meet in the NCAA tournament with a script similar to that of the Sunshine State Conference championship but this time Lynn got the best of Barry, advancing to the national quarterfinals 3-1 in penalty kicks after drawing 1-1 through double-overtime. Matt DiCerbo came up with three big saves in PKs as the Fighting Knights reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005.
Marking the third meeting between these two squads in the last three weeks, Lynn (13-4-2) knocked off the 25th-ranked Buccaneers 2-0 on Oct. 26 before falling to Barry (12-3-6) in the semifinals of the SSC championship 7-6 in PKs on Nov. 4.
The Fighting Knights dominated the pace in regulation, outshooting the Bucs 14-4 over the first 90 minutes of play. Lynn finally snapped a scoreless tie at 58:30 when Roberto Cadihle slotted a pass through the defense and Stefan Wolf finished for his second goal of the season.
But not more than 30 seconds later Barry scored the equalizer. Taking advantage of an injury to Lynn’s back line, Connor Randel attacked the left wing, beat LU’s defender and ripped a shot near the six-yard box. DiCerbo made the initial save but Randy Taylor was there to tap in the empty-net goal to knot the match at one.
Both squads exchanged shots and fouls over the remaining 30 minutes to no avail, sending the game into overtime. In the extra period, Barry had a couple of chances to pull out the victory, outshooting Lynn 6-1 but DiCerbo again came up big with two more saves.
DiCerbo was even more clutch heading into the penalty kick shootout. DiCerbo stopped Barry’s first two shots while Harald Gracholski and Julian Halder buried their attempts to put Lynn on top 2-0.
A goal by Marc Rafols cut the lead to 2-1, breathing new life into the Buccaneers but DiCerbo sucked away that air with a kick save on Gee Oliveira’s shot. Johnny Mertl then knocked in the final penalty kick to advance the Blue & White to the quarterfinals.