It took penalty kicks to decide it as the No. 14 Stevens Institute of Technology men’s soccer team and The College at Brockport fought to a scoreless stalemate in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship. Sophomore Paul Killian made two diving saves and all four Ducks who took shots connected to send Stevens (17-2-1) into the Round of 16 for the seventh time since 2003.
After a breathless 110 minutes filled with suffocating defense and precious few scoring opportunities, Bobby Ross lined up to begin the shooting line for the Golden Eagles against Killian. The shot was high and to the goalkeeper’s right, but Killian deflected the strike up and off the crossbar as the crowd erupted and the momentum immediately swung to Stevens. Pete Bednarsky, Anthony Roden and Zach Adler converted all of the Ducks’ first three kicks.
In the fourth round, Killian dove for the opposite corner of the net and again came up with the ball headed for the lower left side to give the Ducks a chance to advance if they were successful in any of the next three installments. It would just take one. Senior Tarik Kramcha drove the next attempt into the twine to send Stevens to the Round of 16 on the strength of a 4-2 victory in penalty kicks.
The game leading up to the PK’s was so tight that neither team got off a shot in the 20 overtime minutes. It seemed as though each player would touch the ball once and then immediately have a defender draped on his back throughout the match. Brockport played with five defenders at times in a game where it became an accomplishment to earn even a corner kick.
That is not to say the teams did not have their chances. Brockport had a furious attempt at scoring in the last minute of the second overtime and Killian was forced to sky to intercept more than a few corner kicks served in by the Golden Eagles.
For the Ducks, they outshot Brockport 15-7 in the game and put four of those attempts on goal. Zach Bowman used skillful dribbling to spring Adler for a close rip with 11 minutes remaining in the first, but the try was aimed directly at the well-positioned Brockport keeper.
Then, with eight minutes left in the half Edward Rupp shot a rocket that was hit so hard it bounced off the goalie’s gloves and nearly led to a juicy rebound.
One could argue Stevens outplayed Brockport in the first half, but the second was as tight as a scoreless postseason game should be. Kramcha had perhaps the best chance of the night for Stevens in close with 17 minutes remaining, but sent his shot wide.
Then with just four minutes left, Marc Orlando of Brockport had a close opportunity but Killian was up to the challenge and made his second save of the night. Neither team would put another shot on goal until penalty kicks.
Stevens avenged its last loss from 65 days ago where the Golden Eagles defeated the Ducks 2-1 in double overtime on September 9. Brockport has now ended the Stevens winning streak at 16 games but the Ducks will have their unbeaten streak intact at 17 as they advance to the Round of 16 in the NCAA’s.
The Ducks advanced to the game with a 3-0 win on Saturday over Lehman College in the first round of the tournament.
The Ducks know they will face Amherst College in the Round of 16 but the site and game time have yet to be determined. It is possible for Stevens to host the next two rounds of the NCAA’s as well. Announcements of sites and game times will be made by the NCAA today.