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CAC Men's Soccer Championship Preview: York at Salisbury
YORK, Pa. – In a rematch of last year's tournament final, the York College men's soccer team (10-5-5) faces conference rival Salisbury (13-2-3) in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship match on Saturday, November 5. Slated for a 2:30 pm start, the Spartans are set to travel to Salisbury to contend for the CAC title and the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
"We are extremely excited about this opportunity," Spartan head coach Mark Ludwig said. "From where we were three to four weeks ago and to now play in the CAC championship match it shows how far this team has come, together. To play in the final is always an honor but to get to play Salisbury just adds to the occasion. Especially in recent years, this has been such a great matchup with the combination of passion and great play from both squads. This is going to be a great final."
York, the tournament's third seed, reached the final by way of a 3-2 victory over Stevenson in the first round before besting Mary Washington 3-0 on the road Wednesday afternoon. After receiving a bye in the opening round, the top-seeded Sea Gulls defeated Frostburg St. 3-0 in the CAC semifinal.
The Spartans enter the match looking to capture their third straight CAC Tournament title, which would mark a first in program history. York collected the 2009 championship with a 2-1 victory over Stevenson before last year's fantastic tilt at home against Salisbury. The #1 seed entering the 2010 tournament, York hosted the Sea Gulls on November 6. Through the 110 minutes of regulation and overtime, the squads posted a 1-1 draw, courtesy of goals from Salisbury's Stafford Chipungu and York's Antonio Bua. Spilling into a penalty-kick shootout, the Spartans captured the title and the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament courtesy of a 4-3 shootout result.
"The 2010 final was a great soccer match," Ludwig recalled. "Two outstanding teams going at each other throughout the entirety. It was a great effort by both squads."
Having won five CAC Tournament championships in the program's history, the Green and White have garnered four of the last six league titles, beginning with their 2-1 triumph at Salisbury on November 7, 2005. Beginning with the 2005 campaign and including this current season, the Green and White have posted a tremendous 121-16-20 record for an outstanding .834 winning percentage.
"We have experienced a good run over the past few years," Ludwig said. "However, this squad is unique and is intent on making its own mark in York College soccer history. As I told the players, the story will not be complete without a win in the final."
Salisbury enters the contest as the #17-ranked squad in Division III. The Sea Gulls have won each of their last five contests, having shutout each of their opponents during that stretch.
For their history in the CAC, Salisbury has secured seven league championships including five of the last eight. Their most recent title came in the 2008 campaign when they bested Wesley 3-0.
"Salisbury has been an outstanding program throughout the history of the Capital Athletic Conference," Ludwig said. "Coach DiBartolo has done an excellent job this year. They have been a national presence for many seasons and continue to do so."
In their meeting earlier this season in York, Salisbury topped the Green and White 1-0 in overtime. Following a scoreless first 90 minutes, Jeremy Moyer tallied the match's lone goal for the Sea Gulls in the 99th minute. Phil Bucheimer got to the end line with the ball before playing pass to Moyer back toward the top of box. Moyer hit a one-timed shot for the finish and the game-winning score.
"The first match was part of our turnaround this season," Ludwig said. "Obviously we wanted the win but that is the way it worked out on that day. It just goes to show how tight and well played this rivalry been between Salisbury and York has become. As I said before, I think this is going to be a great final."
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