No. 3 Seed Eastern Nazarene Moves on to NECC Men's Soccer Semifinals; No. 5 Elms Pulls off Upset to Advance

No. 3 Seed Eastern Nazarene Moves on to NECC Men's Soccer Semifinals; No. 5 Elms Pulls off Upset to Advance

In the first game of the 2019 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Soccer Championship, fifth-seeded Elms College advanced past fourth-seeded Mitchell College by a 4-2 decision in penalty kicks on Sunday afternoon at Mitchell's Alumni Field, after playing to a 1-1 stalemate through 110 minutes in the first round match-up. 

After each team converted in the first round of penalty kicks, Elms goalkeeper Julian Brosi made a save to give the visitors the advantage. With the Blazers holding a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth round, the Mariners missed their second PK over the crossbar and gave Yanni Koci a chance to end the contest. He calmly buried his ensuing attempt to send the Elms sideline into wild celebration.

Each half in regulation featured one goal, with Mason Rubino scoring for the Mariners with just three seconds remaining in the first. It was his first goal of the season and just the second of his career, both of which have come in postseason play. Mitchell held the 1-0 margin until Justin Szwajkowski tied the game in the 75th minute with his fourth goal of the year. His shot from close range deflected off a Mitchell defender and snuck past goalkeeper Seth Strader for the equalizer.

Neither 10-minute overtime period yielded a golden goal, although each team had chances. Alex Egan got a good look for the Blazers in the 103rd minute but missed, and Mitchell's Nathan Lehner slid a shot just inches past the right post in the 107th.

Mitchell held a 21-11 edge in total shots. Brosi finished with eight saves while Strader made three. 

The Blazers (5-10-4 overall) move on to face top-seeded Lesley University in the semifinals on Thursday, November 7 at 8 p.m. Mitchell ends the season with a record of 4-10-2. 

The late afternoon match-up featured the third-seeded Eastern Nazarene College and the sixth seeded Dean in the opening round of the conferencet tournament at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

No. 3 Eastern Nazarene edged the Bulldogs by a final score of 2-0.  The home side claimed a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. Bryan Vargas netted his fourth goal of the fall as Leon Zaffonato  and Stanley Elie each picked up assists.

The guests nearly equalized 30 seconds later as Kyle Lameiras' effort ricocheted off the crossbar.

Eastern Nazarene generated 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes of action while Dean fired four.

The Lions stretched their advantage to 2-0 in the 69th minute. Charlie Swann bagged his league-best 16th tally of the season, finishing off a through-ball from Sunil Lepcha.

The hosts concluded the contest with 22 shot attempts while the visitors finished with 11 attempts.

Junior netminder Tim Eddings recorded three saves in his eighth start of the season. Bryce Antoch registered six saves between the pipes for Dean.

"I'm very proud of the way our team played tonight. Our defense played exceptionally well and our two goals were great finishes," commented ENC head coach Mark Bell. "We're excited to keep our season going and our guys are eager to get back to work to prepare for the next round."

The Lions climb to 14-3-0 on the year and advance to the NECC Tournament semifinals for the second-straight season.

Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene travels to second-seeded New England College in the NECC Tournament semifinals November 7.