Montclair St. headed to first semifinals
Red Hawks snapped the Ducks’ 18-game unbeaten streak
Amherst, Mass. -- Senior Kevin Brown scored the biggest goal in Montclair State history as he ripped a shot into the upper corner with 16:12 remaining punching the Red Hawks ticket to the national semifinals in a 1-0 victory against Stevens Institute of Technologyin the quarterfinals hosted by Amherst College on Sunday.
Montclair improved to 19-3-3 overall on the season with the win and now advances to the semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Red Hawks snapped the Ducks’ 18-game unbeaten streak in the process as Stevens lost for the first time since September 9. The Ducks closed out their season with an 18-3-1 record. Montclair also gained a measure of revenge against Stevens as the Ducks handed MSU a 4-0 loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2009. The victory snapped the Red Hawks NCAA record 45-game home winning streak.
Hoping to get off to a fast start, Montclair State caught Stevens on a counter just five minutes after the opening whistle with senior Jon Christensen tracking down a long through-ball from the midfield. Coming off his line, sophomore goalkeeper Paul Killian slid to meet Christensen at the top left corner of the 18, deflecting the shot wide.
Winning a corner in the ninth minute, first-year Maxx Wurzburger again served Christensen in the middle of the box but Stevens sophomore defender Leonardo Casas cleared the shot destined for the right post off the line to keep Montclair off the board.
Continuing to apply pressure, the Red Hawks earned another corner just 4:21 later. Senior Sean Pauls headed the ensuing cross on target, but the Ducks Anthony Roden headed the attempt over the bar to keep Stevens level.
Switching fields with just under 24 to go in the half, Tarik Kramcha lifted a nicely placed cross into the Montclair box from the right side. Winning the ball in the air inside the six, sophomore forward Stephen Dunbar nearly put Stevens ahead, sending a header just over the bar.
Moving into the attacking third with just over 18 to play in the first, Montclair’s Kevin Zalewski again tested Killian, forcing the sophomore goalkeeper to go to the ground to make a save.
Stevens quickly responded by going on the offensive with Victor Daza putting a shot on net at 27:59. Minutes later, Dunbar made a nice run down the right side before firing a low tracer toward the left post prompting a diving stop from junior netminder Anthony Rogic.
With just over two minutes remaining in the half, Zach Adler put another Ducks try on net, ripping a hard shot from the left but Rogic made another diving stop to keep it scoreless heading into the intermission.
Still searching for the game’s first tally, Dunbar corralled a loose ball just above the 18-yard box 5:04 into the second. Taking a quick touch, the sophomore sailed a volley over the crossbar at 50:04.
Getting a long throw with just over 35 to play, Brown flicked a shot on goal but Killian made his third save of the afternoon to keep it even.
Stevens first-year Jonathan Stallone fired a shot high with 29:22 left in the frame before Adler sent a shot into the arms of Rogic with under 25 remaining in regulation. Earning a corner just 2:27 later Adler played a cross into Roden, who headed a try wide right.
Pushing forward in the 74th minute, Zalewski hit a shot that got blocked down by the Stevens defense. Settling a loose ball on the left side, Christensen slotted a pass toward the middle of the box finding the feet of Brown. Taking a quick touch, the senior quickly looked toward goal, ripping a shot into the upper right corner of the Ducks’ net for the game’s first tally at 73:48.
Looking to add to the Red Hawk margin with just eight minutes left on the clock, Christensen blocked down a Casas cross in halfway to midfield. Alertly tracking down the ricochet, Christensen raced ahead, finding himself in alone on goal. With Casas giving chase, the senior took a long touch, allowing Killian enough time to come off his line, smothering the threat before the charging forward could cleanly foot it toward net.
Desperately trying to tie the game, Adler sent Stevens’ first shot in nearly 20 minutes against a suddenly stingy Montclair backline wide at 88:05, sealing the Montclair win.
Each team finished with 15 shots, while Montclair held a 5-3 edge in corners. Rogic made four saves en route to his 19th victory, while Killian made three stops in the loss.