Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UAlbany Men's Soccer Falls to Binghamton in America East Conference Semifinal Match

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Cameron Keith’s goal in the second overtime led Binghamton to a 1-0 victory over UAlbany in the semifinal round of the America East Conference Men’s Soccer Championship at Varsity Field on Wednesday, Nov. 12. The Bearcats advanced to this weekend’s championship game against the winner of tonight’s other semifinal match between Boston University and Vermont, while the Great Danes’ best season in four years came to a stunning end.

“I felt we were absolutely the better side,” said head coach Johan Aarnio after the match. “One of the difficult parts of competition which I told the team was that sometimes you are the better side and you do not get the result. It is just one thing that can change (everything), and that ended up costing us.”

The teams played the first two halves evenly. Total shots were even in the first half at eight apiece, and the Great Danes had an 8-5 advantage in the second half. However, nothing was decided in 90 minutes of action.

UAlbany (12-4-2) controlled play from the opening kickoff in the first sudden-victory overtime and outshot the Bearcats by a count of 3-0 in the stanza. Following the team’s second corner kick of the frame, Mike Peters fired a shot from outside the box in that was blocked by the Bearcat defense in the 93rd minute. The ball bounced out to Mikael McNamara on the left, but his shot attempt sailed wide. Binghamton earned its ninth corner kick of the match in the 99th minute, but the ball was cleared away by the Great Dane defense.

In the second sudden-victory overtime, Binghamton (12-5-3) would take advantage of its first shot since Kyle Kucharski’s attempt with 12 minutes remaining in regulation was saved by UAlbany goalkeeper Steward Ceus. Playing from the left sideline, Cody Germain lobbed the ball towards Keith, who was all alone in the box. Ceus came out in an attempt to intercept the ball, but last season’s America East striker of the year got to it first and chipped in the game-winning score at 101:13. With the winning play, the Bearcats advanced to the conference championship match for the sixth straight time, which is a league record.

UAlbany’s Ceus made four saves on 14 opportunities in his final career match. He ended his career as the program’s all-time Division I leader in shutouts (19) and total saves (329). Binghamton’s Jason Stenta stopped four of the 19 shots he faced against the nation’s fourth-ranked offense to earn the shutout.

“They have to keep their heads up,” Aarnio said. “They showed championship intensity and what a championship side is made of. They all showed that we were the better side today. We did not get the result, but we need to build on this and bring it back next year.”

Despite winning just three matches last season, the Great Danes matched the program’s Division I record for single-season victories. The program will most notably return Claudio Dantas, who was named the America East Striker of the Year. He set the single-season Division I mark for points and matched the all-time single-season standard for assists.

America East Conference Championship – Semifinal Round

Binghamton (12-5-3) 0 0 0 1 - 1
UAlbany (12-4-2) 0 0 0 0 - 0

Binghamton: Scoring – Cameron Keith (1-0), Cody Germain (0-1). Goalkeeping – Jason Stenta (101:13, 0 GA, 4 saves).

UAlbany: Scoring – None. Goalkeeping – Steward Ceus (101:13, 1 GA, 4 saves).

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