Welcome to the 2011 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Touranment. Tonight, I will be blogging about the Spartans' tournament match against DeSales.
The Spartan season comes to a bitter end as they can't get the equalizer before the final horn. The Green and White gave tremendous effort despite having to play all but 17:20 of the game a man down. The Spartans end the season at 11-6-5. They are now 1-1 vs. teams from Pennsylvania in the NCAA Tournament and 7-3-5 all time in the big dance. Thanks for following tonight's blog and be sure to check out www.ycpspartans.com for Brent Duffy's complete game wrap up. Before we check out for the night, I want to congratulate sophomore Tim Hartung on being the first York College cross country runner to advance to the NCAA Division III National Championship. Tim finished ninth of over 300 runners at the Regional Championship hosted by DeSales University. Tim will compete at the National Championships next week in Wisconsin. Good night Spartan nation.
The Bulldogs get on the board when Balfour collects a loose ball at midfield. He passes to Matthew Germscheid. Handy comes out to challenge him on the left hand side of the box but Germscheid flicks the ball past Handy and it's 1-0 Bulldogs with just over a minute left. Time to have some magic.
The action is picking up again as Bua had a great chance in front of the goal. It looked like he got taken down but no call. The Spartans had a corner kick but couldn't convert as the clock is down under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Aaron Beale makes a great slide tackle on a DeSales breakaway but the Bulldogs now have one of those dangerous throw ins. The Bulldogs almost just score as Handy misplays a shot. The Bulldogs hit York with a flurry of three straight shots but York keeps them off the board. Whew, that was a close series and I am not sure how we are still scoreless.
York can't get anything off back-to-back corners. The Bulldogs respond by driving down the field and Handy needs to collect a loose ball in the box for the Spartans. Much to the Spartans' credit, they respond by getting it right back into the Bulldogs' defensive third. Pearson hits a bomb of a shot but it's high and wide of the target as we are now under 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Bua gets called for offsides after a brilliant strike by Pearson. The action is slowing down just a little bit as the teams are tiring on the pitch. This has been a great collegiate match. The Spartans just earned a corner kick after a nice run by Weaver. This could be interesting.
A number of players on both sides appear to be gassed as the frantic pace of the contest. Guys are grabbing their shorts during short breaks as the pace has been pretty constant for the first 70 minutes of play. Matt DeLong and Bua enter the game for the Spartans as coach Ludwig is looking for a little offensive spark.
The temperature is starting to drop noticably as we head into the later parts of the second half. Another observation is that DeSales has some physically big guys on their team. That's probably why they are an outstanding team in the air. The Spartans just a break as Balfour couldn't settle a pass in the box. York then took the loose ball and drove down towards the DeSales' goal but Brummitt's crossing pass couldn't find a partner. The pace of this game has been impressive as the two teams are going to leave it all on the field.
DeSales has slowly been building momentum as the Spartans have continued to battle despite being down a man. Justin Facer has been playing great for the Spartans and continues to be all over the field for York. Chris Weaver and Taylor Brummitt enter the game for the Spartans with 25:12 remaining in regulation.
The Bulldogs have an amazing weapon that has been on display during tonight's match. Defender Tyler Nolan can throw the ball deep into the box from the sidelines which makes each Bulldog throw in from past midfield a dangerous chance for DeSales. The feeling at Captains' Park right now is that one team is close to a goal....lets just hope it's a Spartan goal.
And the second half has begun with the Spartans having the first possession. The Spartans have come out of the break and played well in the opening four minutes of the stanza. Bua just had a great run off a pass from Pearson but there wasn't a Spartan on the far post to finish. York looks energized right now.
It's halftime and it has been an entertaining first 45 minutes of play. Two yellow cards, one red, 14 combined shots and four combined shots on goal. The Spartans have three corners to none for the Bulldogs. The crowd for the Christopher Newport match that follows the Spartans' match is slowly starting to drift in. I am sure it will be a racous crowd for the home side in the 7:30 match.
Handy makes a great save to keep the game scoreless as this has all the makings of a classic. The teams are nearly identical statistically as there is just over a minute left in the half.
The Bulldogs just had a great chance as Balfour placed a beautiful cross in the box and Derek Long struck a shot from the six that went about a foot over the crossbar. It was probably the best chance of the game for either team. There has been just one sub, junior Antonio Bua for the Spartans in the first 34 minutes of the contest. It will be interesting to see if the pace, which has been pretty constant, takes its toll on the squads later in the game.
Here are some Spartan NCAA Tournament fun facts: This is the Spartans' 15th NCAA Tournament game but it is just the second time they have faced a team from Pennsylvania. They beat Dickinson 3-1 in the 2007 Tournament at Stevens in NYC. The Spartans are 7-2-5 all time in the tournament. Another fun fact is the Spartans have played the same opponent just once in 15 matches and that was Amherst in 2007 and 2009. The Spartans just had a great chance denied by what appeared to be a hand ball in the box but the center official didn't see it the same way and York earned a corner that the Bulldogs turned away.
The Bulldogs just had a free kick from standout Jonathan Balfour but the attempt from about 35 yards out sailed wide right and Handy was in good position if the shot was on target. The Spartans are playing well and moving the ball crisply but playing a man down will make it an uphill climb. Junior All-CAC midfielder Cody Pearson just crushed shot from 30 yards out that just snuck outside the left post.
Kavanagh was assessed a red card and freshman Steve Handy is now in goal for the Spartans. In addition to playing a man down, Handy will be making his collegiate debut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Talk about baptism by fire, we will see if the Spartans can overcome being a man down. The call was that Kavanagh took down the attacker as the last man back as he was out of the box. An unlucky break for the Spartas
A little bit of excitement as DeSales head coach George Crampton gets hit with a yellow card. It certainly seemed like everyone in the press box thought it was a bit of a quick card but it appears the official wants to assert control of the contest early. Things are quickly getting intense as Ethan Kavanagh just came out to challenge a shot. He got clipped going down and is being attended to by athletic trainer Kevin Brown.
The game has been back and forth with both teams having a shot on goal. The Bulldogs have done a nice job on balls in the air while York had a dangerous chance off a throw in in the 12th minute. The Spartans just had a great cross from Justin Facer that just missed finding a charging Taylor Brummitt in front of the DeSales' goal.
It's time for kick off as the Spartans are making their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance after winning their third straight Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. The Spartans are wearing their road green long sleeve jerseys with white numbers and trim while they have on their white shorts and green trim and their green socks. DeSales is sporting their white jerseys with blue numbers and trim, blue shorts and white socks.
And we are underway with DeSales winning the first half kick.
We are getting ready to start the match as Christopher Newport Director of Athletic Communications Rob Silsbee has just concluded introducing the two teams.