November 2, 2013

Men's Soccer Survives Dramatic NESCAC Quaterfinal in PK's Over Tufts

SOMERVILLE, Mass. - Sophomore Andrew Jones scored the decisive penalty kick as visiting Bowdoin College advanced to the semi-finals of the NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship over Tufts on Saturday at Kraft Field. The teams tied 2-2 through regulation and two overtimes, then Bowdoin advanced on PK's 3-1.

The action was dramatic as Bowdoin scored twice within a nine-minute span late in the second half to take a 2-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining. However, the Jumbos rallied to tie it with a pair of goals in the final five minutes to send the game to overtime. Both teams had numerous opportunities in the extra sessions, but could not capitalize.

In PK's, after saves by goalies Scott Greenwood for Tufts and Noah Safian for Bowdoin in the first round, Greenwood made another save for the Jumbos and Tufts senior tri-captain Scott Blumenthal scored to give the hosts a 1-0 edge. Bowdoin's Eric Goitia answered with a goal in the next round and the Tufts shot missed the net for a 1-1 tie. After Polar Bear Matt Dias Costa scored and Safian made another save, Bowdoin led 2-1 after four rounds. Jones clinched it with a high drive to the right side on Bowdoin's fifth shot.

Defensive miscues by the Jumbos had led to both Bowdoin goals in the second half. On the first, a mis-communication between the defense and Greenwood left the ball unattended in front of the net for Cedric Charlier to tap in for a 1-0 lead in the 71st minute. On the second goal, a poor Tufts clear attempt was intercepted by Bowdoin's Zach Danssaert. He crossed the ball to Austin Dowing who headed a pass to Dias Costa in front of the goal, and his header made it 2-0 with 10:58 on the clock.

With their season on the line, Tufts increased their offensive pressure and it paid off. With the box full of players, Jumbo junior Max Hoppenot found Kyle Volpe in the middle of the field and his shot eluded Safian cutting the margin to 2-1. Minutes later, the Jumbos earned a corner kick and Rui Pinheiro sent it into the box where an unmarked Monil Patel headed it in for the equalizer.

Bowdoin had the better opportunities in the first half, which was scoreless. Fourteen minutes in, Bowdoin's Jones chipped a shot from close range that Jumbo defender Daniel Sullivan was able to head away. Just two minutes later, the Jumbos had their best chance of the half. On a run, Hoppenot passed to Jason Kayne just outside the goal area where Bowdoin keeper Noah Safian charged to block Kayne's shot. With less than five minutes remaining until halftime, Tom Henshall sent a long ball to the right post where Ben Brewster's header went just over the crossbar.

The Polar Bears got revenge on the Jumbos with the victory. On Tuesday at Kraft, for the second straight year, Tufts had defeated Bowdoin in the regular-season finale, 1-0, to earn the home quarterfinal over the Polar Bears. Last year Tufts won the quarterfinal between the teams by a 3-1 score.

The Polar Bears will play at top-seeded Amherst in the semi-finals next Saturday. Bowdon improved to 9-3-3 overall. Tufts (8-6-1) likely saw its season end.

Shots finished 13 apiece, with seven for Tufts and six for Bowdoin in the exciting second half. Greenwood made three saves for Tufts and Safian stopped two for Bowdoin.

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