BABSON PARK, MA – Saint Joseph's (14-6, 7-3 GNAC) fell to Trinity College (11-5-2, 6-2-2 NESCAC), 1-0, in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA DIII Men's Soccer Tournament at Babson's Hartwell-Rogers Field on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Timothy Shea (Somerset, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal in the 53rd minute to lead the Bantams to victory, the first NCAA Tournament win for Trinity since the 1997 campaign. With the win, Trinity advances to the second round of the national tournament for the fourth time program history. The hard-fought loss signals the end of the 2011 campaign for Saint Joseph's.
After an uneventful first half, the Bantams started the second period by getting an early goal from Shea. Senior co-captain Dan Mayernick (Gladwyne, Pa.) made a crisp pass to junior Anthony El-Hachem (Vernon, Conn.) on a through ball toward the middle of the field before El-Hachem slid tapped it to Shea. The rookie forward perfectly placed a shot past Monks' sophomore goalkeeper Kenny Grade (Hampton, N.H.) inside the left post from 15 yards out to give the Bantams what would prove to be the game's lone marker.
It was a frustrating first half for the Bantams, who missed out on several scoring opportunities, including a series of shots in the 12th minute. El-Hachem ripped a shot which was stopped by a diving Grade. Trinity senior Mike Galluzo (Meriden, Conn.) caught the rebound with the goalie out of net, but a Monk defender blocked the shot on the goal line and cleared it away. Trinity sophomore Christian Carrasquillo (Manchester, Conn.) got a third shot off in the series, which sailed high and wide of the net, as the Monks escaped the early Trinity threat.
In 17th minute, Shea found himself in a one-on-one opportunity with Grade, but his shot sailed high above the crossbar. Saint Joseph's leading scorer, sophomore Zach Johnson (Westbrook, Maine) responded by making a bid for his 18th goal of the season at the other end, but his hard shot sliced just wide of the left post.
Later in the first half, Shea got another shot off for Trinity, which Grade was there to stop again. His deflection went to the feet of Mayernick, who had an open right side of net, but his shot went too far right and cut past the post. Moments later, Monks sophomore Ross Suleski (Amesbury, Mass.) handled a perfect through-ball and managed to get a strong shot off, but the ball was right at Trinity senior co-captain goalkeeper Grant Schonberg (Mendham, N.J.). Then just before the half, Bantams' sophomore defender Shaun McGann (West Hartford, Conn.) was able to loft a shot toward the top left corner of Saint Joseph's goal, but Grade was there again to punch the shot away to end the first period.
Both teams had additional offensive opportunities in the second half, but other than Shea's score, the defenses on both teams did not allow either offense to get clean looks that they had managed in the opening frame. Grade finished the game with five saves, while Schonberg made two stops for his ninth shutout of the season, breaking a Trinity individual season record. Schonberg passes Tom Hambrick-Stowe, who recorded eight shutouts in the 1999 season.
Trinity, ranked sixth in New England according to the latest NCAA regional poll, notched advantages in shots (19-9) and corner kicks (6-0) en route to the tourney triumph.
The loss signals the end of competitive soccer for the Monks' seniors Zak Hollingshead (Westerly, R.I.), Nick Lemieux (Thomaston, Maine), Mike Sanfilippo (Walpole, Mass.), and Jesse West (Enosburg Falls, Vt.). Saint Joseph's posted a 46-32-6 (.590) record, including a stellar 23-12-2 (.657) mark versus GNAC opponents, with the 2012 graduating class in the fold with the four-year win total and subsequent winning percentage both ranking as team bests by wide margins.
The group of seniors also helped lead the Monks to three GNAC Championship game appearances over the past four seasons – yielding a pair of conference crowns and the team's only NCAA Tournament berths.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: The Monks had outscored their opponents 43-17 this season, and 15-3 in their last five games heading into today's action...Babson heads into tomorrow's match with a 19-game unbeaten streak after losing their first two games of the season... Babson is 7-0-0 against Trinity all-time, but all seven of those meetings came between 1975 and 1982... Trinity has never advanced beyond the second round of the NCAA National Championship Tournament.
THANKS IN PART TO TRINITY COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION