Men's Soccer Falls In NCAA Quarters

November 21, 2010

The Middlebury men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end with a 2-1 overtime loss at Bowdoin in the NCAA Quarterfinal round. The Panthers were making their  third trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in the last four years and finish the season with a 16-4-1 mark, the second-most wins in school history.

Bowdoin's Zach Danssaert scored the game-winning goal with one second remaining in overtime to lift the Polar Bears to the victory. The Polar Bears (15-1-4) earn their school-record 15th win of the season and will face the winner of Lynchburg and Ohio Wesleyan on Friday, December 3, for a berth in the national title match.

After a scoreless first half that saw neither team garner any top-notch chances, the game opened up with a flurry of action early in the second stanza. Just two minutes into the stanza, Middlebury's Rob Cole controlled the ball on the right wing and delivered a centering pass to Brett Brazier. Brazier shrugged off a defender at the top of the box and left-footed a shot inside the right post, just beyond the reach of goaltender Dan Hicks, to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Bowdoin increased their offensive pressure following the goal, with their best chance coming with 32 minutes to go when Sean Bishop's header deflected off the post to Eddie Jones, who rifled a shot high off the crossbar. Middlebury netminder Tim Cahill stymied the Polar Bears on several occasions, including consecutive outstanding saves inside the box off the foot of Bowdoin senior Ben Denton-Schneider with under 10 minutes to play.

The Polar Bears were finally able to break through against Cahill, who had shut out Bowdoin for 281:46 minutes this season, in the 82nd minute. After a long possession in the Middlebury end, Jones collected a loose ball on the left side of the box and right-footed a shot that tucked inside the right post to tie the score with just 8:14 remaining. The game remained deadlocked and headed into extra time.

The game appeared destined for a second overtime until Bowdoin earned a free kick just outside the box with under 15 seconds remaining in the first extra session. The set piece was quickly played into the box to Nick Powell, whose header bounced off the post to the waiting foot of Zach Danssaert, who booted the rebound into the top right corner just before the horn sounded.

Hicks made seven saves in goal for Bowdoin while Cahill stopped five shots, all of which came after halftime. The Polar Bears held a 16-13 edge in shots and a 9-6 advantage in corners.

The NCAA semifinal appearance will be the first for the Polar Bears, who had not won an NCAA Tournament game prior to this fall.

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