Men’s Soccer Advances Past #14 Connecticut College on PKs

Liam Sloan made the deciding penalty kick as the Panthers advanced in the NESCAC Tournament.
Liam Sloan made the deciding penalty kick as the Panthers advanced in the NESCAC Tournament.

After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer at 14th-ranked and third-seeded Connecticut College (10-3-3), the sixth-seeded Panthers (7-2-7) won the penalty-kick portion of the NESCAC Quarterfinals 4-3 and moved into next weekend's championship round. Middlebury will face top-seeded and host Amherst on Saturday.

The visitors had the initial shot on goal of the contest, as Henry Wilhelm directed a low shot that Camel keeper AJ Marcucci collected. Middlebury goalie Ryan Grady stopped the only three shots he saw in the frame as the teams were scoreless at the half.

The teams battled their way through the next 45 minutes with the game remaining deadlocked at zero. Conn. College had several chances, but none better than Matt Butera's bid in the final two minutes. After taking a pass at the top of the penalty area, Butera ripped a shot to the lower-left corner of the net, that Panther goalie Marco Kaper made a diving save on. Kaper entered the game in the early stages of the half.

Neither team mustered a shot in either of the two 10-minute overtime periods, as the game finished in a scoreless draw with penalty kicks determining who advanced to the semifinals. Goals by Ben Potter and Kieran Bhave staked Middlebury to a 2-1 lead after two kicks, while the hosts tied things at 2-2 heading into the fifth and what could be the deciding round. Noah Hannam pushed a shot into the upper-right corner off Marcucci's hand putting the Panthers temporarily in front, while Augie Djerdjaj countered with a goal for Conn. College. With the kicks moving to sudden death, Liam Sloan tucked a shot into the left corner for a 4-3 edge, while Kaper smothered a low bid off the foot of Justin Miranda to send the Panthers into the semifinals.

Grady (53:15) and Kaper (56:45) each finished with three saves, while Marcucci stopped the only shot he faced.

The Camels had a 24-4 edge in shots and earned all eight corner kicks in the contest.