BEVERLY, Mass. – The No. 1 seed Endicott men's soccer team advanced to the ECAC Division III New England Championship match in dramatic fashion, downing No. 4 Castleston St. University in PK's Saturday evening in the ECAC Semifinals at Hempstead Stadium.
Good ball movement early on by both teams led to a fight for possession and scoring opportunities as Endicott and Castleton St. University duked it out under the lights on a chilly November night.
After a scoreless first half, senior forward Abdulla Al Khalifa (Riffa, Bahrain) sent a long-range shot soaring as it arced into the back right of the net past a diving goalkeeper to give Endicott a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute off a feed from junior midfielder Paul Erne (San Diego, Calif.).
The Spartans answered back as junior midfielder Nihad Basic (Burlington, Vt.) collected a rebound in front of the goal to deliver the equalizer in the 57th minute (unassisted).
After playing to a 1-1 draw in 110 minutes of action, the contest moved to penalty kicks for the right to play in tomorrow's ECAC Championship matchup.
All four Endicott players converted their kicks, including the last one from sophomore midfielder/back Brendan McLaughlin (Colchester, Conn.) that sent the Gulls flying onto the field in celebration, winning the shootout 4-2.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Endicott held a 17-12 shot advantage, while also holding a 6-2 advantage on corner kicks in the match.
- Junior goalkeeper Nick Weinstein (Trumbull, Conn.) registered threes saves as he improved to 16-2-3 on the season.
- Al Khalifa scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season, which is good for a four-way tie for second in the Endioctt men's soccer record books for goals in a single season.
- Erne earned his first career assist in an Endicott uniform.
- This was the Gulls' first penalty-kicks affair of the season and first since advancing 6-5 on PK's against Salve Regina at home on Nov. 1, 2014 in the CCC Quarterfinals after a 0-0 draw through double overtime.
- The Gulls tallied their fourth tie of the season, tying last season's notch of four in 2014.
FOR THE FOES
- Basic scored his fifth goal of the season.
- Senior goalkeeper Amir Pasic (Burlington, Vt.) made three saves for the Spartans.
- The team finished with 15 wins—tied for the most in school history.
- Today's match was the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Endicott (16-2-4) advances to the ECAC DIII NEW England Championship to face the winner of No. 2 Wentworth/No. 3 Springfield. Castleton (15-5-3) sees its season come to an end.