GW Wins Chesapeake Conference Championship
Apr. 27, 2012
April 27th, 2012 - GW Wins Chesapeake Conference Championship In The Final Seconds Against St. Mary's 12-11
What a night it turned out to be for the NCLL DII Chesapeake Conference Championship hosted by the University of Maryland. GW had previously fallen to St. Mary's 3 weeks earlier by 3 points, but tonight was an entirely different story. "Injuries had taken out too many of our players in our last meeting with St. Mary's, " noted George Washington Head Coach, Joe Opron, "3 midfielders were out, 2 attackman, even our defense was weak in our last matchup." Even though the Colonials were at full strength for Friday night's game, it still proved to be quite a battle. "We knew St. Mary's would come out faster than in the regular season..it's playoffs, everyone goes faster and runs harder," said defensive midfielder Nico Vivaldi.
While the Colonials opened with 2 quick goals in the first minutes of the 1st quarter, making the score 2-0, they would not lead again until the final seconds of the game. St. Mary's came back and not only tied it up with GW but was able to pull ahead by 1 (3-2) to end the first quarter. Solid ball control by both team's on the offensive end combined with tough defensive play resulted in long offensive possessions for both teams but failed to result in multiple goals being scored. The first half ended in a 5-5 tie after Freshman Jake Venditto found Freshmen Max Levine on the crease for a quick feed and quickstick resulting in a Colonial's goal.
In the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks were able to pull ahead by two (5-7) but GW responded with a goal of its own (6-7). A quick fastbreak though, off of a St. Mary's save, allowed the Seahawks to drop in another goal to end the 3rd quarter, 8-6. While down, the Colonials were not out. In the beginning of 4th quarter play, GW scored two to tie the game at 8-8. But again, St. Mary's crept ahead by one and then two goals (8-10). GW responded by tying the game for the 3rd time at 10-10 only to have the lead snatched away by a St. Mary's man-up opportunity (10-11).
With 53 seconds left on the clock it seemed that the game was over. But, following the ensuing faceoff, relentless defensive pressure by Midfielder Maxwell Kollmer forced St. Mary's to call for a time out to ensure their player did not turn the ball over. GW took advantage of the stopped time and placed Defenders Sam Clements and David Thompson on the ball outside of the box. Not only did they strip the ball, they succesfully forced it out of bounds to stop the clock and exchange midfielders. With 40 seconds left on the clock, Clements cleared the ball to a wide open Nicholas Bryan at the midfield who succesfully cleared, dodged, and scored to tie the game at 11-11 with 30 seconds left on the clock. In the ensuing faceoff, St. Mary's earned a push from behind penalty and is forced to go man-down. Freshman Attackman Charles Frattini sent a shot just centimeters wide with 15 secods on the clock and it seemed this game would head to overtime. But that was not to be the case. Junior Attackman Matthew Pereira retrieved a ball from the endline and with the clock counting down from 15 seconds was able to keep his composure and find Junior Midfielder David Goscinak at the top of the box with 8 seconds left. With a left to right split, Goscinak pushed down the alley and stuck a bounce shot into the top left corner with only 3 seconds to spare. The Colonials jumped ahead 12-11 and re-took the lead in the final seconds of regulation play!!
The following faceoff officially ended the game. Colonials Win! Colonials Win!
GW will play St. Joseph's University in the NCLL Elite 8 at the United State's Naval Academy at 1pm on May 5th.
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