YORK, PA – The York College men's soccer team won their fourth straight Capital Athletic Conference title on Saturday afternoon as the Spartans shutout the University of Mary Washington 5-0 in the tournament title game at a cool Graham Field.
The championship was historic as it makes the men's senior class the first class in any sport in school history to capture a conference championship in all four years. The title gives the Green and White their eight straight NCAA Tournament appearance, also a new school record.
The five goals established new conference records as it was the most goals scored in a CAC Championship game and it was also the largest margin of victory in the 22-year history of the men's soccer championship tournament. The previous record for margin of victory was three, set by three different teams, while the previous record for goals was four, set by Salisbury in 2000's 4-2 win over UMW.
All the distractions of the last four weeks were put in the rear view mirror as the Spartans started the game with the intent of taking the play the Eagles early on. The Green and white didn't take long to carry out that intent. York drew a penalty kick after senior Antonio Bua (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) was fouled in the box just 3:42 into the game. Fellow senior Justin Facer (Prospect Heights, Ill./North Allegheny) took the PK and drilled into the back of the net for the early lead.
The Green and White added to the lead just 6:05 later as Bua garnered a loose ball about 20 yards outside of the 18, collected the ball and dribbled into the box where he beat an on-rushing Eagle goalie Tyler Back for his 10th goal of the year.
The Eagles had a great chance to cut into the Spartan advantage in the 20th minute as Kevin Murphy had a long throw into the box. Patrick Kelly snapped off a quick header that Spartan goalie Jesse Derksen (York, Pa./Susquehannock) snagged out of the air to abate the threat.
The Spartan offense pushed the lead to 3-0 with 21:34 remaining in the opening half courtesy of a fantastic individual effort from junior Austin Johnson (Avalon, N.J./Middle Township). Johnson got a pass around midfield and beat the first Eagle defender. As he progressed towards the goal, he faces little resistance as the Mary Washington defense has pushed up in attempt to apply more pressure in the Spartans' defensive third. Johnson dribbled in and about 10 yards outside the box, juked Back who had come out to challenge the play. Johnson settled the ball and hit a shot into the wide open net for his fifth goal of the season.
The Spartan offensive onslaught continued in the 35th minute when juniors Taylor Brummitt (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) and Jake Hower (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) combined on a beautiful goal to put York up 4-0. Brummitt collected a pass on the sideline, drove to the end line and unleashed a perfect pass to Hower who was rushing to the goal. The pass was on target as Hower deposited the Brummitt helper into the netting, capping a huge first half.
The second half was much like the first as the Spartans carried the play as the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.
York increased the lead to 5-0 as Thursday night's hero Brendan Saberton (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) captured a failed Eagle clear and notched his fifth goal of the year in the game's 65th minute.
The Spartans salted away the win over the final 25 minutes as York picked up its seventh Capital Athletic Conference men's soccer title. The Spartans are now tied with Salisbury for second on the all-time championship list, trailing Mary Washington by one title. The Spartans, Sea Gulls, and Eagles have combined to win all 22 of the conference titles.
York finished with a 17-3 edge in total shots and a 12-2 margin in shots on goal. The Eagles ended the match with a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks. The Eagles also had 15 fouls to just eight for York.
Derksen finished the game with one save in his 66:55 of work while freshman Leonardo Romero (Philadelphia, Pa./LaSalle College) completed the clean sheet with one save in his 23:05 of action.
Back suffered the loss as he allowed five goals in his 76:08 of play. He recorded five saves. Jack Eaton played the final 13:52 and notched two stops during his stint.
Spartan head coach Mark Ludwig was very happy to pick up another conference title.
"These kids have experienced a great deal of adversity during the course of the season," said Ludwig. "But they did a fantastic job of staying focused, maintaining the vision of what they wanted to accomplish and they did what we ask them to do. It is truly all about the kids and they deserve all the credit for this championship. I am proud of them."
The Spartans improve to 17-2-2 overall while the Eagles finish their 2012 campaign with a mark of 12-8-1.
York will find out on Monday afternoon at 1:00 pm where they will be playing the NCAA Tournament. The full tournament bracket will be unveiled at www.ncaa.com. Please check back at www.ycpspartans.com for a full tournament information Monday afternoon.
Team photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgefoto.com)