November 17, 2012

#1 Messiah Slips By Spartans, 4-2 in Penalty Kicks, to Advance to the Elite 8

YORK, Pa. – The York College men's soccer team fell to top ranked Messiah College 4-2 in penalty kicks after the two teams finished both overtime periods in a 2-2 tie in the Sectional Semifinal in York on Saturday. 

After making it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years, the Spartans close out the 2012 season with a final record of 18-2-4.  With the win, the Falcons advance to the Elite 8 where they will face The University of Scranton, with a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio on the line. The Falcons are now 20-0-2 heading into the Sunday match up with Scranton.

In the first half of play both teams had limited opportunities to score as they combined for a total of six shots with the first real attempt at a goal coming 17 minutes into the half.  With just under two minutes remaining in the first half of play, Messiah's Bryant Myer and York's Aaron Beale (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) battled for possession at the right side of the box.  Bryant maneuvered the ball past Beale towards the end line with a chance at a one-on-one with the goalie.  At the last minute Beale recovered with a quick slide tackle to end Messiah's offensive opportunity.

In the second half of play, things heated up between these two rival squads.  Just three minutes into the half Messiah's Mike Kovach broke the scoreless tie and put his team up 1-0.  Kovach received a pass from his teammate Jeremy Payne on the right side of the field.  Kovach proceeded to dribble into the right side of the box and with a defender on him ripped a shot across the goal to find the back left corner of the net.

In the 57th minute, the ball would once again find the accurate foot of Kovach who finished another offensive opportunity for the Falcons.  Kovach would tally this unassisted goal by knocking in a rebound after a shot by Payne was initially blocked at the top of the box.

After facing a sudden 2-0 deficit York turned to its senior leaders to make a big play and none came up bigger than senior captain Cody Pearson (Crofton, Md./DeMatha Catholic).  Just over a minute after the Falcons notched their second goal of the game, York cut the lead to one after a hard strike from the left foot of Pearson found the back of the net. 

Six minutes later in the 60th minute of play, senior Antonio Bua (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) moved the ball down the right side through the defensive midfield.  Just before entering the box, Bua completed a textbook centering pass where he found Pearson streaking through the middle.  With one touch, Pearson finished the offensive run with shot low and to the left to tie the game up 2-2.

With just under two minutes remaining in regulation Messiah threatened to take the lead as they were awarded a free kick from the left side of the field at about 22 yards out from the goal. The ball travelled to the upper right corner of the goal, but with one swift movement goalkeeper Jesse Derksen (York, Pa./Susquehannock) rose up and punched the ball out of the air to prevent the scoring opportunity and send the game into overtime.

In the 91st minute during the first overtime period it appeared that York had the game won after Bua maneuvered around the goalie on the left side of the goal and delivered a pass back to the middle.  Chris Weaver (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) was on the receiving end of the pass right in font of the goal and about one yard from the end line.  Weaver popped the ball up, regained control and popped it up once again, but this time it was off the crossbar and when the ball came back down Falcon goalkeeper Brandon West scooped up the ball to put an end to York's chance at a golden goal.

Both teams had other chances later in the first overtime period, but were unable to capitalize and the game would move to a second OT.

In the 107th minute Messiah's Aaron Myers played the ball into the dead center of the box where his teammate Joshua Wood was waiting to receive the pass.  Wood put a solid strike on the ball with his head, but the ball narrowly escaped the back of the net as the shot went wide to the left.

With less than a minute left in the second overtime period, York mounted one last effort to end the game.  Junior Taylor Brummitt (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) stole the ball in front of Messiah's bench and managed to keep it in play near the sideline.  Brummitt then continued down the left sideline beating multiple defenders on his way towards the goal.  When he got near the box, Brummitt played the ball across to the other side.  Patrick Ward (Prince George, Va./Prince George) was on the other side and collected the pass from Brummitt.  Ward played the ball off a Falcon defender to draw a corner kick with 14 seconds remaining.  Daniel Baxter (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) played a short corner kick into Pearson who placed the ball towards the top left corner of the goal.  No one was able to make a play on Pearson's pass and the ball rolled out of play as time expired in the second overtime.

During the penalty shootout, Messiah made all four of their shots while York failed to capitalize on their second and fourth attempts to surrender the Sweet 16 victory to the Falcons.

West earned the win net for Messiah as he posted three saves in 110 minutes plus two more in the penalty shootout.

Derksen posted seven saves in 110 minutes and tallied a final season record of 14-2-4 with the penalty kick shootout loss.

The Falcons finished the game with 21-12 advantage in shots and also held 9- margin in corner kicks.

With the win Messiah advances to the Sectional finals on Sunday, November 18 where they will face The University of Scranton.  Game time is set for 1:30 pm at Graham Field.

Game story written by Athletic Communications Student Intern Derek Behrenshausen

Cody Pearson photo courtesy of Theresa Dark - Athletic Communications Student Photographer.