AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Gary Kegal (Woodway, WA) lobbed a penalty kick into the left corner of the net to eliminate Middlebury College from the 1997 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship. Tied 3-3 at the end of four overtime periods, the Jeffs advance to the New England Regional Championship with a 4-2 win in the shootout.
Amherst took a 1-0 lead early in the game as Andy Kay (North Easton, MA) scored on a breakaway from Jon George (Minneapolis, MN) just 3:54 after the opening whistle. The Panthers retaliated early in the second with a goal from Middlebury captain Mike Taylor (Wellesley, MA) in the 55th minute to tie the game at a goal a piece.
Kay struck again in the 73rd minute when he sent a Devin Talbott (Washington, DC) cross into the back of the net for a 2-1 Amherst lead. But Middlebury capitalized on another of their seven second-half shots with just 1:12 left in regulation. Pushing everyone including keeper Scott Wiercincski (Brunswick, ME) into the box, the Panthers served a ball to the top of the 6 where sophomore Matt Franzosa (Medway, MA) notched the equalizer to force overtime.
Feeding on the momentum from the end of regulation, Middlebury scored a go-ahead goal 1:04 into the first overtime. Mike Cormier (West Springfield, MA) carried down the right sideline and beat a trio of Lord Jeff defenders before passing to a wide-open Franzosa, who won the one-on-one with Amherst keeper Kevin Larner (Short Hills, NJ) for a 3-2 Middlebury lead.
Amherst tied the match for the third time in the 99th minute when Kay poked a ball across the goalmouth to Talbott for the senior's fifth goal of the year. Scoreless through the second overtime, the NESCAC rivals battled through a pair of sudden death periods, still stuck in a 3-3 tie. To determine who would advance to the regional championship, each team would shoot a handful of penalty kicks to decide a winner.
Wiercinski honed in on Christian's opening shot to register another skillful save from the junior. Franzosa gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead before Kay and Sergey Cherednichenko (Scottsville, NY) traded tallies. A Nate McDonald (Burnsville, MN) score into the right side of the net tied the shootout at 2-2 before senior Co-Captain Mike Russell's (Concord, MA) shot went just wide left of the goal. Brian Angelini (Granada Hills, CA) pushed the Jeff lead to 3-2 before a Chris Clark (Hanover, NH) shot skittered off the left post and back into the box. Kegal sealed the win with his penalty kick.
"I thought it was a pretty evenly played game today," commented 13-year Middlebury Head Coach Dave Saward. "We had some great chances to score and didn't capitalize,but overall I thought we played a pretty solid game. It's disappointing to lose a game on penalty kicks, but that's the nature of the game."
"Neither team deserved to lose," noted Amherst Head Coach Peter Gooding. "We might have knocked one of the best teams out of the tournament today. Both teams started to get a little tired defensively, but it was a great game."
Middlebury exits their fourth straight NCAA Tournament with a 10-4-1 record while Amherst (9-4-2) moves on to face top-seeded Bowdoin on Saturday at 10:30am in Brunswick, Maine. This is the second time Amherst and Middlebury have met this year, with Amherst claiming a 1-0 victory earlier in the season. This is also the second time the rivals have met in the NCAA Tournament, with Amherst also emerging from the first round on penalty kicks in 1995. This is the third time in five years the Jeffs have earned an NCAA bid.
at Amherst, Massachusetts 1 2 OT OT SD SD PK -- F No. 5 Middlebury (10-4-1) 0 2 1 0 0 0 2 -- 3 No. 4 Amherst (9-4-2) 1 1 1 0 0 0 4 -- 4 Scoring: A Andy Kay (Jon George) 3:54, M Mike Taylor 55:11, A Kay (Devin Talbott) 73:26, M Matt Franzosa 88:48, M Franzosa (Mike Cormier) 91:04, A Talbott (Kay) 99:32. Penalty Kicks: Amherst (result) Middlebury (result) Tim Christian (saved) Matt Franzosa (good) Andy Kay (good) Sergey Chrednichenko (good) Nate McDonald (good) Mike Russell (wide) Brian Angelini (good) Chris Clark (wide) Gary Kegal (good) N/A. Shots: A 12, M 23. Saves: A Kevin Larner 11, M Scott Wiercinski 2. Corner Kicks: A 10, M 7. Fouls: A 25, M 20. Remaining NCAA New England Region Schedule at Brunswick, Maine: Sat Nov 15 No. 4 Amherst v. No. 1 Bowdoin 10:30am No. 3 Wheaton v. No. 2 Plymouth State 1:00pm Sun Nov 16 Regional Final 12:00pm # # # 11/12/97