AMHERST, Mass. – Sophomore Quinn Hewitt (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) scored in the 85th minute to break a 1-1 tie and lift #5/8 Saint Joseph's (21-0-0) past Middlebury College (10-4-3), 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA DIII Men's Soccer Tournament at Gooding Field on the campus of Amherst College on a blustery Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Monks advance to the second round of the NCAA tourney for the third-consecutive season and will face off against pod-host Amherst tomorrow at 1:00 PM. For Middlebury, the loss brings the 2018 campaign to a close.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Panthers, known for playing outstanding defense, made it difficult for the Monks to maintain possession in their offensive third, but the Royal Blue capitalized off a throw-in at the 35:50 mark, when junior Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) netted his ninth goal of the season. Taken from the right sideline and facing a stiff wind, a throw-in by Jackson Taylor (Gorham, Maine) found the head of Hewitt, who headed a short pass to Robinson for a slick side volley to the bottom left corner.
The 1-0 lead remained until the 79th minute, when the Panthers tied the game on a rapid transition. Attempting to clear out of their defensive end, a Middlebury defender booted the ball towards the SJC bench that appeared to be going well out of bounds but was held up by the wind. Drew Goulart collected the clearing and quickly sent a pass up the left sideline to Daniel O'Grady, who chipped a shot over the head of Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) into an empty net. Mullen left his post to challenge and was caught in between either continuing to attack the ball or retreating to the crease.
The game-winning goal was set up by senior Dalton Gaumer (Corona, Calif.), who dropped a free kick from 45 yards out into the box finding Hewitt, who one-timed a header into the bottom right side of the net.
Mullen made seven stops in the victory, including several diving bids, while Middlebury keeper Matthew Hyer turned away two shots in a losing effort.
The Panthers held leads in shots (15-7), shots on goal (8-4), and corner kicks (5-2) in the loss.
Today's game between Saint Joseph's and Middlebury was the first-ever for the institutions' men's soccer programs.