St. Francis soccer runs out of double-OT magic
Dream Season Ends with NCAA College Cup Loss at Dartmouth
It took 982 minutes of pitch time spanning almost seven weeks for the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s soccer team to allow a single goal.
But when they did, the dynastic Terriers saw their dream season come to a crashing halt with a heartbreaking 1-0, double-overtime loss to Dartmouth in the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup in Hanover, New Hampshire last Thursday evening.
“I can’t ask for anything more,” SFC head coach Tom Giovatto said proudly after Dartmouth’s Matt Danilack’s tally in the 104th minute sent his Terriers home for the winter following their third Northeast Conference title in the last four years.
“We represented the conference really well [Thursday night].”
They did so for the entirety of the NEC season as well, going an eye-popping nine consecutive conference games without allowing a single goal, including a perfect run through the league championships at Brooklyn Bridge Park the weekend before last.
SFC played seven double-OT contests this season, going 4-1-1 in the first six, including a 1-0 triumph over St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Nov. 13 that launched them back into the NCAAs.
But on Thursday, the Terriers had a golden opportunity to close out the Big Green just prior to the end of regulation.
Despite being outshot 13-5, SFC appeared on the verge of a stunning upset of the defending three-time Ivy League champions when senior midfielder and Brooklyn native Salvatore Barone found the ball at his feet in open space with only 45 ticks left on the clock.
The Xaverian High School alum fired a hard shot from 15 yards out that got past Dartmouth netminder James Hickock, but sailed just wide of the open net.
“I really thought Sal was going to score on that play,” Giovatto noted after watching Barone come through on so many occasions during this championship campaign, including the lone tally in an NEC semifinal win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 11.
“On another night, it’s a goal and we probably win the game.”
SFC goalie Seth Erdman did his best to keep the Terriers in the hunt for a second-round date with Syracuse — making eight saves before Danilack, off a perfect cross from Alexander Marsh — scored the first goal against the Terriers since George Washington University achieved the feat back on Sept. 28.
“Obviously, we’re ecstatic to be able to move on,” Big Green head coach Chad Riley admitted a few days before his squad dropped a 3-0 decision to Syracuse in the second round.
“Credit to St. Francis Brooklyn, we always knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Toughness was a trademark of this Terriers squad, which went 8-0-1 down the stretch to dethrone 2015 NEC champion and neighborhood rival LIU Brooklyn.
SFC had to beat LIU 1-0 on Nov. 6 to clinch the conference crown and host the conference tourney here at BPP for the first time.
After warding off Sacred Heart in the semis, the Terriers couldn’t assure themselves a return to the NCAAs until Lukas Hauer delivered on a penalty kick in the 107th minute of the final.
Barone, the NEC Tournament MVP, and fellow senior Yussuf Olajide who scored a pair of double-OT winners during the regular season, just couldn’t get one past the Big Green defense this time around.
“I thought we played a good game,” Giovatto said. “We just didn’t finish a couple of chances, but we played solid defensively and I felt we frustrated them.”
“It was definitely a relief,” Danilack added. “We had a lot of chances and we knew they were a good defensive team coming in so we knew to stay patient.”
While one Downtown Brooklyn NCAA dream died last Thursday, another sprang to life Sunday in Fairfield, Connecticut.
The LIU Brooklyn women’s volleyball squad staved off a pair of championship points by top-seeded Sacred Heart, pulling out a spine-tingling five-set victory to capture their 10th Northeast Conference title, and fourth in five years, as well as a date in the prestigious national tournament.
Senior Alex Larsen, the NEC Tournament MVP, freshman sensation Filippa Hansson and fellow first-year standout Amanda Hubbard refused to let the Blackbirds’ campaign come to an end.
The trio spearheaded the Blackbirds first championship under second-year head coach Ken Ho.
LIU will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night during the NCAA Selection Show.
First-round games are slated for Dec. 1-3 at regional sites across the nation.
Senior Iverson Fleming scored a career-high 26 points Monday afternoon as LIU-Brooklyn continued its strong start to the season by capping an impressive run though the Steve Wright Classic at Boston University with a 71-66 victory over Maine.
Fleming went 6-of-11 from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the charity stripe to boost the Blackbirds (4-1) to a 2-1 mark during the three-day tourney, which saw LIU edge Northeastern 78-74 on Saturday before suffering an 86-69, setback to host BU on Sunday.
Freshman Jashaun Agosto averaged just under 16 points per game during the tournament to pick up NEC Rookie of the Week honors.
The Blackbirds will return to the hardwood Saturday afternoon at UMass Lowell.
The St. Francis men saw their early season record drop to 0-3 following Monday night’s 64-48 loss at Providence.
Senior guard Yunus Hopkinson had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Terriers, who hope to post their first win of the year Friday morning against Savannah State in the opening round of the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Florida.
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