Men’s Soccer Suffers Heartbreaking Loss in NEAC Semis

Junior Preston Vick stopped five shots, but the Keuka College men's soccer team fell to Lancaster Bible College 1-0 in overtime Saturday in the NEAC semifinals (photo courtesy of Ed Webber, Keuka College Sports Information department).
Junior Preston Vick stopped five shots, but the Keuka College men's soccer team fell to Lancaster Bible College 1-0 in overtime Saturday in the NEAC semifinals (photo courtesy of Ed Webber, Keuka College Sports Information department).

The Keuka College men's soccer team suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to Lancaster Bible College Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tournament at Morrisville, N.Y.

The third-seeded Keuka (11-5-1) played the second-seeded Lancaster Bible College (12-5-1) to a scoreless tie for 90 minutes of regulation.

After a foul was called in the box on a Keuka student-athlete three minutes and 21 seconds into the overtime session, Josiah Groff converted a penalty kick into the lower-left corner of the goal to propel the Chargers into the NEAC championship.

Top seed Morrisville State (15-2) knocked off fifth-seeded Penn State-Abington (5-9-4) 1-0 in the other semifinal.

The NEAC championship is 1 p.m. Sunday at Morrisville State, with the winner earning an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament.

Senior Austin Gerber (Churchville, N.Y./Churchville-Chili) capped his record-breaking senior season with an NCAA-most 26 goals and 58 points. He was held without a shot in the semifinal loss to Lancaster Bible.

Junior Preston Vick (Kendall, N.Y./Kendall) made five saves for Keuka, which, despite the loss enjoyed its winningest season since 2008 (12-4-2).

Neither team scored during the opening half, though the Green and Gold had the better of the attack against the Chargers. Keuka outshot Lancaster Bible 7-2, including the final five shots of the opening half.

Sophomore Paulin Kolodja (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas) took a shot from 10 yards out, but the effort sailed wide right of the goal in the 37th minute.

Junior Joe Maier (Spencerport, N.Y./Spencerport) had a header attempt from in close, but it sailed wide of the goal with 5:10 remaining in the first half.

Two minutes later, sophomore Leandro Curran (New York, N.Y./Westlake) slotted a pass across the front of the goal area for freshman Romeo Katanga (Manchester, N.H./Manchester). But Katanga's shot from seven yards out was saved, and the two schools headed to halftime scoreless.

Early in the second, the Chargers nearly netted the go-ahead goal. Off a corner kick, Spencer Lockard leapt for a header, but his shot struck off the crossbar, and Vick came down with the save.

Junior Ben Schreiber (Hilton, N.Y./Hilton) ripped a 12-yard shot six minutes into the second, but this time, Andrew Kofstad (four saves) came up with the big save for the Chargers.

Vick made a pair of sensational, point-blank stops in the 65th minute to keep the game scoreless. Nathan Grimley and Enoc Navarette each had shots from eight-yards out, but Vick made a diving stop on both shots to deny the scoring chances.

Curran got free and blasted a shot from 12 yards out with 20 minutes remaining, but the ball sailed wide of the net.

The Chargers continued to pepper Vick, but Ben Noel's shot was blocked, and after Bradley Wilcox corralled the rebound, Vick was there for the save on back-to-back possessions in the 76th minute.

A win over Lancaster would have lifted Keuka into the NEAC title game for the first time since the 2008 season, when the Green and Gold fell to the University of Dallas. Keuka has not won the NEAC postseason crown since the 2007 season.