MIDDLEBURY, CT-The York College men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight with a 5-4 win over Amherst in the shootout after both teams played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer on Saturday in Middlebury, VT. The Spartans advance to face host Middlebury, 3-0 winners over Williams, on Sunday with a trip to the Final Four riding on the line.
The Spartans are now 21-2-1 while the Jeffs end their season 15-2-1. The game goes down as a tie with York advancing due to the penalty kicks.
The green and white were back on their heels early as they adjusted to Amherst’s physical style of play. The Jeffs controlled the early play but the Spartans got their legs underneath them and started to wrestle momentum away from Amherst. That momentum would be unrealized as the teams headed to the break without a score. Both teams managed four first half shots with Amherst holding a 2-1 edge in shots on goal and 5-1 bulge in corner kicks for the half.
The second half saw the Spartans take the offensive as they outshot Amherst 10-2 including 3-0 in shots on goal. Unfortunately for York, none of those shots found the back of the cage as the teams headed to the first overtime.
The Jeffs had the only shot on goal in the two overtimes as Kyle Marks (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury) recorded a first overtime save.
The two teams then headed to penalty kicks, where one team would survive and advance, while the other team would suffer the agony of having their season conclude.
Amherst got the first attempt and John Kneeland was turned away, putting momentum in the lap of the green and white. Sophomore Jon Ports (Baltimore, Md./McDonough), the CAC Player-of-the-Year put the Spartans up with a conversion in his attempt. The two teams would each convert their second, third and fourth attempts, setting the stage for the two final attempts. Amherst’s Jake Duker notched his attempt to tie the shootout at four. Junior Evan Scheffey (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) then stepped up in front of goal. A conversion by Scheffey and the Spartans advanced. The junior defender promptly drilled home his try and the York season continues for at least one more day.
The Spartans finished the game outshooting Amherst 19-7 while the Jeffs had an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. Marks recorded three saves for the Spartans while Jeff Grover earned the shutout for Amherst, making four saves.
York will look to advance to their first Final Four on Sunday as they face host Middlebury at 1:00 pm.