SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Two minutes away from a berth in the NCAA title match, heartbreak struck the Bowdoin College men's soccer team as Lynchburg scored a late goal in regulation and then the game-winner with 16 seconds left in overtime to end the Polar Bears' season. Bowdoin finishes their year with a record of 15-2-3. Lynchburg advances to the NCAA Championship match against Messiah on Saturday.
With Bowdoin holding a one-goal lead late in the contest, Lynchburg evened the score with just 2:01 remaining in regulation, as they cashed in after a sustained possession. A strike by Lynchburg's Scott Colman from the right wing deflected off the head of Bowdoin's Sean Bishop and past a helpless Dan Hicks to tie the game and force overtime. With 16 seconds remaining in the first overtime, a throw-in by Lynchburg came into the box from the right sideline. Stephen Brooks headed the ball to the far corner of the goal, just beyond the outstretched hands of Hicks.
Bowdoin had an amazing chance to take the lead just two minutes into Friday's contest as Tim Prior blasted a shot from the top of the box that was deflected by Lynchburg goaltender Michael Releford to the waiting foot of Nick Powell, who ripped a shot that caromed off the crossbar. After dominating possession for long stretches in the first half, the Polar Bears made another bid to break into the scoring column as Zach Danssaert played give-and-go with Ben Denton-Schneider. Denton-Schneider's attempt sailed wide right of the goalpost as the game entered halftime deadlocked at zero.
The Polar Bears continued to pressure early in the second period and finally broke through in the 53rd minute. Sean Bishop played a 30-yard free kick into the box where Ben Brewster got a piece of it. The ball trickled through traffic inside the right post, past a diving Releford, to give the Polar Bears a 1-0 lead. Lynchburg immediately responded with a flurry of action – their best chances of the day to that point – but Dan Hicks stood tall with a diving save and a cover-up to maintain the one-goal advantage.
Bowdoin held an 18-14 advantage in shots and 7-4 edge in corners. Hicks finished with six saves for the Polar Bears while Releford had three for Lynchburg.
Photos courtesy of Brandon Ellis McKelvey