STANDISH, Maine – Sophomore Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) scored just three minutes and 13 seconds into the game to lift top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (18-0-1) edged #3 Norwich University (11-4-5), 1-0, in the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Championship at the SJC Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Monks claim their second-consecutive conference crown and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA DIII National Championship Tournament, which begins next weekend. The complete NCAA bracket will be announced on Monday.
For Norwich, the hard-fought loss brings a close to the 2017 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Entering today's contest, the last three matchups between the Monks and Cadets resulted in double-overtime 0-0 ties, as the conference counterparts held each other without a goal for 354 straight minutes. Counterintuitive to recent results, Elliott snapped the scoring drought on the Monks' first shot of the game, as the sophomore forward corralled a loose ball in the crease and tapped it into an empty net. Junior Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) had his header attempt blocked by a Norwich defender, on a crossing attempt, and was credited with an assist on the play.
Saint Joseph's, ranked 19th in the latest D3Soccer.com national poll, had several other chances to extend the lead, but the best opportunity took place in the 74th minute, when senior Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.) took a shot that got by Norwich junior keeper Brendan Germano (Monroe Township, N.J.) but senior defender Greg Zydanowicz (Newington, Conn.) was in position for the defensive save.
SJC junior goalie Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) was not forced to make a save in the victory but snuffed out several attempts by snatching the ball in the middle of the box. Germano played well in the losing effort, recording 10 saves to keep the Cadets within striking distance for the duration.
Saint Joseph's dominated the stat sheet with considerable advantages in shots (26-1), shots on goal (12-0), and corner kicks (7-0).
- With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 8-4-4 all-time versus Norwich University – the Monks have now defeated the Cadets in three GNAC Championship games (2011, 2016, 2017)
- The Monks have extended their NCAA Men's Soccer (DI, DII, D3) consecutive shutouts streak record to 19 games
- Mullen also extends his NCAA Men's Soccer consecutive shutout minutes record to 1,595 minutes and 36 seconds
Rory Twomey, Saint Joseph's – MVP
Cody Elliott, Saint Joseph's
Blake Mullen, Saint Joseph's
Dalton Gaumer, Saint Joseph's
Brett Mattos, Saint Joseph's
Brendan Germano, Norwich
Matt Mazzola, Norwich
Jeff Purdy, Norwich
Robert Hayman, Johnson & Wales
Riley McNicholas, Johnson & Wales
Jesse Bonilla, Regis (Mass.)
Derek Triana, Regis (Mass.)
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.