Four teams came to the 2018 NCAA DII men's soccer championship at the Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Only one is left standing. Barry won its first men's soccer championship 2-1 over West Chester at the 2018 DII fall festival.
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Let's take a quick look at how it went down.
Barry 2, West Chester 1
Barry completed a dream season with its first NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship title at the DII National Championships Festival in Pittsburgh. The Buccaneers registered a come-from-behind 2-1 win over West Chester in a battle of teams seeking their first crown.
Two goals in a six-minute span late in the second half propelled the Bucs to the title. The first came from James Kirkham in the 78th minute after a Barry corner kick went long and forced West Chester keeper Will Marshall to run out and reach for the stop. The ball glanced off his hands, and while Marshall was able to get back in net during the scramble, Kirkham headed it over Marshall’s outstretched arms.
Stephen Kosmala followed on a free kick tucked around the West Chester wall and into the bottom right corner of the net in the 84th minute. The turnaround of momentum on the field was palpable at that point.
West Chester’s forte throughout the tournament had been to frustrate the opponent, and that strategy appeared to work for most of the match. Jason Pixley, who had the Golden Goal in the Golden Rams’ overtime win over Cal Poly Pomona in the semifinals on Thursday, headed in a corner kick in the 24th minute to break a scoreless tie, and for the next 54 minutes it appeared as if that would hold up. But the Barry attack was relentless and finally paid off.
Rain began just before the opening kick and festered throughout the match, but neither team’s attack appeared to be compromised. Rather, Barry was the one to put a damper on the Golden Rams’ title hopes. Barry completes a 16-4-3 season, while West Chester finishes 16-3-5.
That concludes the 2018 men's soccer season. Barry is your national champions. Relive all the highlights in the blog below.