Both Stevens soccer teams secured the 2011 Empire 8 Championships this weekend, with the men defeating Elmira College 2-1 and the women defeating Nazareth College 2-0. It was the fifth straight title for the men’s team and the second consecutive title for the women’s team. Both teams will host NCAA tournament action at home last weekend. For up-to-date results, news and schedules, visit www.stevensducks.com.
Men’s Soccer Recap
Stevens’ Zach Adler the 2011 Empire 8 Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, secured the victory over Elmira by scoring both goals in the Ducks’ 2-1 win on Sunday. The junior was also named the Empire 8 Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for his efforts. With the victory, Stevens secured its fifth-straight Empire 8 title, eighth-straight conference title and 11th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Though Stevens dominated most of the match – outshooting the Soaring Eagles 21 to 2 – the hosts found themselves trailing 1-0 after Elmira’s Jared Cipriano drew a foul in the box while making an endline run. Andre Germano converted the ensuing penalty kick at 22:31 to give Elmira the lead.
Undeterred by the Elmira advantage, the Ducks continued to generate scoring chances though the first half. Stephen Dunbar had numerous chances for the equalizer, perhaps none better than with seven minutes remaining in the period. The sophomore chipped the ball over the Elmira goaltender, but Elmira defender Ted Michelson was able to redirect the rolling ball away from the goal mouth to preserve the Elmira lead.
Then with five minutes remaining in the half, Benjamin Hirsch found Adler in space with a centering pass. Adler turned and fired the ball into the net for the tying goal that sent the teams to the locker room even at one score apiece.
The second half was tense, as both team’s offenses were unable to score for over the first 40 minutes. With 31 minutes showing on the scoreboard, Zach Bowman and Dunbar got off back-to-back close shots deep in Elmira territory, but Dunbar sent Bowman’s rebound over the crossbar as the Soaring Eagles survived another scare.
Just over 10 minutes later the Ducks broke out on a new scoring chance, as Adler, Curtis Stecyk and Dunbar set up a rugby-like passing pattern on the right side that allowed Dunbar to break in close, but his shot hit the side netting of the Elmira goal.
The match seemed destined for overtime, but with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, the Eagles committed a turnover for which Adler made them pay. The MVP stole the ball, proceeded up the left side nearly unopposed and won the 1-on-1 battle with the Elmira keeper to give Stevens the 2-1 lead and ultimately deliver another conference championship to Castle Point.
Elmira managed just two shots on the day as the Stevens defense played remarkably well. Elmira also committed 12 fouls to the Ducks’ four, picked up four yellow cards and drew two red cards after the final whistle. Paul Killian earned the win in goal for the Ducks.
Ranked No. 18 nationally, Stevens has earned a berth in the 2011 Division III NCAA Tournament. The Ducks will host the first and second rounds on Nov. 12 and 13, playing in a bracket that includes Lehman College, Manhattanville College and The College at Brockport. The Ducks will host Lehman on Saturday at 5 p.m., with Manhattanville and Brockport squaring off at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will meet on Sunday at 5 p.m. for the chance to move on to the Sweet 16.
Women’s Soccer Recap
The Stevens women’s soccer team won its second-straight Empire 8 Conference championship after defeating Nazareth College, 2-0, at the De Baun Athletic Complex on Sunday. Stevens’ senior Kathleen Schuckers was named tournament Most Valuable Player for her role in the Ducks two victories.
Stevens used two second half goals to top the Golden Flyers and earn the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament that begins next weekend with a 14-3-3 overall record.
The first chance of the game to put a tally on the board went to the Ducks, as Schuckers took a shot on goal just five minutes into the game, but her attempt was saved. Nazareth recorded its first shot on goal four minutes later, only to be turned away by senior Kaitlin McClymont.
McClymont only needed to make three saves in the contest to earn her 11th victory and fourth shutout of the season in all 90 minutes of play.
The first Ducks score came from sophomore Bridgette Barden in the 66th minute of action. Barden received a pass from fellow sophomore Lindsay Stoll and ripped a shot from just inside the 18-yard box that rang off the crossbar. The ball caromed at a near 90-degree angle downward to just cross the goal line and notch the game-winner.
Before the Barden score, Stevens ran off five consecutive shots in a three-minute span.
Not even five minutes later, Stoll picked up the second goal for Stevens, as she was set up by a centering pass from junior Paige Allen. The pass left Stoll with a 1-on-1 opportunity with the Nazareth goalkeeper with no defenders in the vicinity to force a contested shot on goal and sent her strike over the outstretched arms of Abbie Carey.
In the first half, play was even through the entire 45 minutes, as Stevens held a slight edge in shots, 6-5. Nazareth applied pressure to the Ducks’ defense with six corners in the opening period but were never able to capitalize.
The contest was truly a tale of two halves. Stevens came out of the break and controlled momentum for the remainder of the game, outshooting the Golden Flyers, 12-2. Defensively, the Ducks only allowed Nazareth to take two shots and contested every possession the Golden Flyers sustained with physical play and timely tackles.
The Empire 8 MVP, Schuckers, netted two goals and assisted on another in the Ducks’ 3-1 semifinal triumph over St. John Fisher College on Nov. 5.
Stevens will host the first and seconds rounds of the NCAA Division III tournament on Nov. 12-13. The team will take on Westfield State University at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12 while Williams College and Virginia Wesleyan College square off at 1:30 p.m. The winner of each match will move onto the second round on Nov. 13 for a 1 p.m. start.