CAMBRIDGE, MA – Southern Vermont, the No. 5 seed in the New England Collegiate Conference Men's Soccer Tournament, upset top-seeded Lesley University, upending the Lynx in penalty kicks after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer on the Lynx home turf.
On the heels of the team's 3-2 shootout victory, the Mountaineers (8-10-1) will now face No.2 seed Daniel Webster, the reigning league champions, on Sunday with a trip to the NCAA Tournament at stake.
The top seed Lynx (15-2-1) outshot the Mountaineers in the first half 11-1, with the best look of the period likely being SVC's only shot, a fire from NECC leading scorer Nick Haggarty (Wynatskill, NY). Southern Vermont's senior goalkeeper Aaron Eschler (Gloversville, NY/Broadalbin-Perth) turned away three Lynx shots faced on goal. Lesley held a 3-1 advantage on corner kicks.
After a scoreless second half and through 110 minutes, the Lynx outshot the Mountaineers 34-6 and earned a 6-2 advantage in corners, but the teams went to penalty kicks.
With the shootout at 1-1, Tyler Reeves (Coventry, CT/Coventry) gave Lesley a 2-1 lead, beating Aaron Eschler to his right, but in Round 4, Cohen Bond (Alexandria, VA/St. Stephen's & St. Agnes) tied the shootout at 2-2. Joe Petit (Salem, MA/Salem) missed high to open Round 5, at which time Southern Vermont's Ben Naaktgeboren (Cambridge, NY/Cambridge) put the Mounties ahead 3-2.
With his team's season on the line, Jonathan Jones-Takano's (Tokoyo, Japan/Bunker Hills CC) well-measured attempt fired off the bottom of the left post, sending the Mountaineers to victory.
For the Mountaineers, Aaron Eschler, who was denied on his penalty kick in the second round, made a match-high six saves. Playing in perhaps his final college contest, Lesley's Zachary Almeida-Beers made one save through regulation and the overtime periods.