November 6, 2013

Instant Classic Gives Spartans CAC Championship Game Berth

YORK, PA – The term instant classic gets bandied about frequently in today's sporting lexicon.

Wednesday's York College – Christopher Newport Capital Athletic Conference semifinal match on Wednesday lived up to the term as the two teams finished 110 minutes tied at two. The Spartans would move on to their fifth straight CAC championship game with a 3-1 win in penalty kicks.

After a scoreless first half, the offenses kicked it into high gear in the second half.

The Captains' Caleb Lewis opened the scoring as he slotted a shot inside the left post in the 52nd minute. Lewis carried the ball into the box for Captains and unleashed a wicked one-timer in to the net for the 1-0 CNU lead.

The CAC's leading scorer, Jalon Brown, added to the lead when he received a well-placed outlet pass from Charlie Dodge, outraced the Spartan defense and drove the ball across the goalmouth inside the far right post.

If being down 2-0 wasn't bad enough for York, the Spartans had a player receive a second yellow which resulted in a red card, leaving York a man down with just under 20 minutes to play in regulation.

The Spartans were a completely different team after the red card. York got on the board just 35 seconds after the card with a beautiful goal. Senior Chris Weaver (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Spalding) drilled a cross to the far left post. Sophomore Brendan Saberton (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) hit a spectacular diving header into the back of the net, drawing York to within one. The goal was his seventh of the year.

York continued to apply the pressure, getting the ball back off the kick off and netting a second goal a mere 39 seconds after Saberton's tally. This time, senior Aaron Beale (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) one-timed a pass to Weaver who fed Peter Lundgaard (Greenville, Del./Salesianum) for a wide-open shot on goal. Lundgaard deposited the ball home and York tied the game despite being a man down.

The two teams didn't have many chances over the remainder of regulation, as 90 minutes would not be enough time to decide a winner.

The Captains had the best scoring opportunity in the first overtime. CNU's Lewis received a pass at the top left of the box and had a great look. Lewis' shot was ripped wide into the left netting as the game remained tied at two.

Lewis had another chance in the second overtime but York keeper Brad Schmidt (Moorestown, N.J./Delran) would foreshadow the penalty kicks with a great sprawling save.

The Spartans weathered the second overtime, as the tired Green and White had played shorthanded for almost 40 minutes in keeping kept the Captains off the board.

With the game's result officially being a tie, the two squads had to go to penalty kicks to determine who advanced to the CAC Championship game.

Weaver knocked off the first attempt to give the home team the early edge. Schmidt came up huge against Brown as he stoned the junior standout. Daniel Baxter (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) converted his attempt, putting York up 2-0. Lewis cut into the York lead with a conversion on the Captains' second attempt. After CNU keeper Sean Killion registered a stop on the Spartans' third attempt, Schmidt came up big yet again with a fantastic kick save on a Jack Cooper attempt. Senior Taylor Brummitt (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) calmly gave York a 3-1 lead and Schmidt closed out the penalty kick win with another great save to send York to their fifth straight championship conference game. The pk victory gives the Spartans a chance to win their fifth straight CAC tournament title but the road won't be easy, as they must travel to bitter rival Salisbury University to accomplish the task.

CNU held a 22-19 edge in total shots and a narrow 7-6 margin in shots on goal. The Captains also had an 11-3 bulge in corner kicks.

Schmidt earned the win as he recorded five saves during regulation and overtime. However, it was his three huge saves in the shootout that allows the Spartans to move on in the tournament. Killion notched four saves for the Captains.

York is now 16-2-1 overall while the Captains conclude their season with a record of 13-5-2.

The Spartans must now face off against one of the two teams who defeated the Green and White during the regular season. Salisbury knocked off the Spartans 3-1 in a mid-October contest.

It will be the eighth time the two squads have met with a conference championship on the line. York has won four championships when facing the Sea Gulls in the finals (3-3-1). The game time for the championship game will be determined on Thursday.

Brendan Saberton photo courtesy of Seth Nenstiel