YORK, PA – The York College men’s soccer team is headed to the Sweet 16 after defeating Amherst College 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Graham Field. With the win, the second-ranked Spartans improve to 17-1-4 on the season while the Lord Jeffs finish their 2009 campaign with a 12-4-1 mark.
After a convincing 6-0 victory over Cazenovia College on Saturday, the Spartans picked up where they left off. After pacing the offense yesterday, Antonio Bua (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) again found the back of the net as he scored the first goal for the Spartans in the match’s 30th minute. Bua’s tally would prove to be the game-winner, his second such score in two games. Kemal Nuspahic (East Petersburg, Pa./Warwick) carried the ball to the top of box and slipped it to the Spartan rookie who was able to tuck it away for the goal in the right-side netting. With that tally Bua now has seven goals on the season including three in two days.
As was the case in York’s first-round game, they found themselves possessing the ball for the majority of the contest. The early strategy for the Lord Jeff’s was to pack the box defensively in attempt to frustrate the Spartan attackers. The York side however, was able to keep their composure, stick to their own game strategy, and execute effectively.
Senior All-American Jon Ports (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), a key contributor in keeping possession for the Spartans, was once again man marked for the entirety of the game, as the visitors attempted to negate his effectiveness.
“Teams are going to play the way they want to play and we are going to continue to play the way we want to play,” Spartan Head Coach Mark Ludwig said. “The game of soccer is like a puzzle and today we solved that puzzle fairly early.”
York scored their second goal of the game early in the second half as Nuspahic again created a dangerous chance for the Spartans. The sophomore forward collected the ball near the top of the box and opened up a lane for himself by beating multiple defenders. Nuspahic carried the ball directly through the middle of the field, before neatly tucking it past Amherst goalkeeper, Lennard Kovacs.
Compared to the first half, the remainder of the game was exceptionally more free flowing as the Lord Jeff’s were forced to pull out of their defensive tactic in attempt to get on the board. Doing so it created more chances for the Spartans as the Green and White played numerous long balls to their forwards and created several more dangerous opportunities.
The Spartans out-shot the Lord Jeffs 23-4 while recording four corner kicks compared to Amherst’s zero. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Hock (Brookeville, Md./Sherwood) picked up a complete game shutout for York, dismissing all dangerous threats.
York has adapted to their opponents changing their tactics to match their style, but it does not appear as if the Spartans will change their game plan progressing in the tournament. York will continue to look for a complete team effort from their players as they move forward.
“We are making the progress we are looking for,” Ludwig said. “The guys are starting to believe what we have said. It doesn’t matter what player you are on the team, it’s about our program. It’s not about one player.”
The Spartans now await the NCAA’s decision as to which institution will host next weekend’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds. That location is scheduled for release by Monday afternoon. Please visit www.ycpspartans.com for updated tournament information.
Photo: Kemal Nuspahic scores the match's second goal Sunday afternoon - courtesy of Steve Doemland (www.stevedoemland.com)
Game story written by Matt Clark - York College sports information student-intern