STANDISH, ME – Sixth-seeded Emerson College (10-7-0, 6-4-0 GNAC) upset #3 Saint Joseph's College (10-7-2, 6-3-1 GNAC), 3-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Tournament quarterfinal contest at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Lions rattled off three goals in a matter of nine minutes midway through the first half, a feat that effectively put the Monks on their heels for the remainder of the tourney tilt. Any momentum typically garnered by the hosts was lost during the visitors' scoring spree, as Saint Joseph's – the reigning GNAC Champions - would record just two shots on goal in the season-ending setback.
With the victory, Emerson will face #2 Albertus Magnus College in a GNAC Tournament semifinal match-up in New Haven, Connecticut on Tuesday. The Falcons blanked the Rams of Suffolk University by a 2-0 margin earlier today to remain alive in this year's conference tourney.
Sophomore back Patrick Lowndes (Granby, Conn.) netted the eventual game-winner with a header off a perfectly-placed corner kick from senior Jacob Lawrence (Clifton, Va.) at the 20:56 mark. Taking a corner from the left side, Lawrence delivered high to the right side of the box to find Lowndes, who one-timed a header into the right side of the net for his first goal of the season.
Lawrence would double the Lions' advantage less than three minutes later when he dabbled through traffic and unleashed a bending shot, from about 25 yards out on the right side, to the top left corner of the net.
Lowndes played a pivotal role in the third Emerson goal, as the sophomore heaved a throw-in inside the box from the left sideline to set up the play. Players from both sides managed to get a head on the bouncing ball, with Lawrence finding the last touch with a head pass to freshman Alex Van Pelt (Pine Bush, N.Y.), who tapped a shot into the lower left corner, making it a 3-0 game with 15:55 remaining in the first half.
In goal, SJC rookie Scott Benner (Post Falls, Idaho) made three saves, while Emerson freshman netminder Carter Bowers (Gorham, Maine) registered a pair of stops in the tourney win.
Emerson held advantages in both shots (13-6) and corner kicks (2-0) on the afternoon, while Saint Joseph's fell on the wrong side of the fouls ledger (13-8) in a losing effort.
St. Joe's entered today's GNAC quarterfinal having won six straight contests by a combined 11-3 score. Emerson has now won seven consecutive contests and has outscored opponents by an 18-5 margin during the run.
Prior to this afternoon, Emerson had never defeated Saint Joseph's in a men's soccer match. The Monks defeated the Lions by a 2-1 score earlier this season (9/22) in Standish and had outscored Emerson by a 17-4 tally in seven meetings before today's loss.
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.