STANDISH, Maine – Junior Alex Zapata (Hamden, Conn.) scored 5:58 into overtime to lift sixth-seeded Albertus Magnus College (10-8-0) past #3 Saint Joseph's College (11-7-1), 2-1, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal at Westerlea Way Field on Sunday afternoon.
Saint Joseph's grabbed an early lead when junior Johnny Thomas (Boston, Mass.) scored off a Jesse Ramirez (Dumont, N.J.) pass in the 13th minute and the 1-0 edge remained until the 70th minute, when Matt Mueller (Cheshire, Conn.) knotted the match with his fourth goal of the season.
Both teams had several chances to take the game in the final 15 minutes of play, but neither side would convert until the 95:58 mark when Zapata unleashed a bending kick, from just outside the box on the left side, past the outstretched hands of SJC senior keeper Scott Benner (Post Falls, Idaho) into the top right corner of the net.
With the victory, Albertus Magnus advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC Tournament and will play at #2 Mount Ida College on Wednesday, start time TBA. The Mustangs tipped #7 Lasell College, 2-1 in overtime, in other quarterfinal action this afternoon to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
With the loss, the 2015 season comes to a close for Saint Joseph's.
1. 12:28 SJMMS15 Johnny Thomas Jesse Ramirez
The Monks struck first when a Ramirez pass intended for freshman Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) ricocheted off an Albertus defender right to the foot of Thomas, who finished with a grounder between the right post and Falcons sophomore keeper Griffin Volta (Orange, Conn.).
2. 69:45 AMC Matt Mueller Ben Colter
A foul on the Monks resulted in a free kick from just inside the center stripe by Zapata, who delivered a perfect ball into the box where junior Ben Colter (Guilford, Conn.) – in traffic - tapped a right-to-left pass across the goalmouth to Mueller, who punted the ball into a wide-open net.
3. 95:58 AMC Alex Zapata (unassisted)
After a missed opportunity by the Monks, a Falcons defender lofted a ball deep down the left side of the field to Zapata, who used some fancy footwork to find a shooting lane and scored a beautiful goal to end the contest in thrilling fashion for the visitors.
Benner made a pair of saves in the loss while Volta registered six stops, including a spectacular save on a Mattos attempt in the 57th minute.
Saint Joseph's held slim leads in both shots (16-15) and corner kicks (8-7) in the conference tournament contest. The Monks were called for 15 fouls while the Falcons were hit with eight infractions on the afternoon.
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 4-8 all-time versus Albertus Magnus College, a program that has ended the Monks' GNAC tourney run in the first round in two of the last three seasons. The Falcons tipped the Royal Blue, 1-0, at Westerlea Way Field in the opening round of the 2013 tournament.
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.