Men's Soccer Prepares For Final Four - Watch Live
November 21, 2007
The Middlebury College men's soccer team will makes its first appearance in the NCAA final four after capturing an NCAA sectional last weekend on campus. The Panthers will meet Loras in an NCAA semifinal contest on Friday, November 23rd at
Disney's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The game will take place at 7:30, while Trinity of Texas and Messiah will play in the other semifinal match-up at 5:00. The winners meet for the NCAA Championship on Saturday at 6:00.
Middlebury is in the midst of its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance, entering the weekend with a record of 5-5-3 in NCAA Tournament play. The Panthers were NCAA participants from '94-'98 and again in '00, '06 and '07. This is the furthest Middlebury has ever advanced in the tournament, falling in the regionals in each of their previous seven appearances.
Middlebury earned its way into the NCAA Tournament by capturing its second NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) Championship with a 1-0 win over Amherst in the title game on November 4th.
In a 5-0 NCAA second-round win over Wheaton, senior Casey Ftorek earned a hat-trick, as Middlebury outshot Wheaton 31-6 on its way to the victory. Senior David LaRocca and rookie Jake Edwards added goals, as junior Brian Bush made one save in goal to earn the shutout.
In last weekend's sectional, Ftorek, LaRocca and sophomore Stephen Hart scored as the Panthers topped NESCAC rival Williams 3-0 in a game played at Middlebury. The Panthers dominated play as Bush made five saves in goal to earn the shutout.
In the sectional final, junior Allen Bourdon scored his first goal of the season, while Ftorek netted his 17th as Middlebury earned a 2-0 win over York. The win improved the Panthers to 11-0 at home this season with just one goal allowed. Bush made nine saves in goal to pick up his fourth straight shutout.
The Panthers have earned a school-record 17 wins this season, against just a pair of losses and one tie. Middlebury has also posted a school-record 15 shutouts in '07. Head coach David Saward, now in his 23rd year, sports a career record of 250-82-35 (.729) entering the weekend.
Middlebury opened the season with seven consecutive wins, including a 454-minute shutout streak to start the season. The Panthers suffered a 3-1 loss to Amherst before running off four more wins. Middlebury suffered its second loss of the season, a 2-1 overtime game at Keene State, before finishing the regular season with a pair of wins.
Ftorek has become "Mr. November" for the Panthers this fall, with six goals in five post-season games, along with an assist. He now owns Middlebury's single-season records with 17 goals and 39 points. Ftorek is now in his second and senior season with the Panthers after transferring from Union in the summer of '06. In just two seasons, he has 30 goals (4th all-time at Middlebury), 13 assists and 73 points (4th all-time at Middlebury). Following the soccer season, Ftorek will join the eight-time NCAA Championship men's hockey team at Middlebury.
Hart (6-3-15) is the team's second-leading goal scorer with six on the season, including one in the sectional win over Williams. Baer Fisher (3-7-13) paces the team with seven assists, including one in each of the team's three NCAA Tournament wins. LaRocca (5-2-12) was in on a goal in each NCAA win, including markers in victories over Wheaton and Williams. Brandon Jackson (3-5-11) is tied for second on the team with five assists, including three in NCAA Tournament play. Andrew Banadda (2-4-8) is the first player off the bench for the Panthers, owning eight points on the year.
Senior captain Alex Elias has been huge in the midfield this season for the Panthers. Senior captain Andrew Germansky anchors the defense, with junior teammate Corey Moffat and sophomore Colin Nangle.
Bush has been steady all season long in goal, despite missing almost four games with an injury. The junior is 14-1-1 with a 0.37 GAA and a school-record 11 shutouts on the year. He has not allowed a goal since the NESCAC semifinal win over Williams, owning a 403 minute and 44 second scoreless streak.
2007 NCAA Men's Soccer Final Four
Friday, November 23th -
Disney's Wide World of Sports - Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Trinity (22-0) vs. Messiah (21-2) - 5:00 p.m.
Middlebury (17-2-1) vs. Loras (23-0-1) - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 24th
NCAA Championship - 6:00 p.m.