OT goal lifts SLU Saints To Liberty League men's title soccer game
CANTON -- Sophomore forward Brian Gilloran scored his first goal of the season with 1:30 to play in the second overtime period to lift number one seeded St. Lawrence University to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over fourth seed Hamilton College in a Liberty League semifinal at SLU's Sandy MacAllaster Field Wednesday afternoon.
The Saints, now 15-2-2 and ranked first in the region and eighth in the nation, will take on the winner of a game between Union College and Skidmore which will be played later Wednesday evening in the championship game which will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. on MacAllaster Field.The game winning play was initiated by freshman forward Adrian Bucksam, who worked the ball up the sideline, cut into the box and stepped around a defender, hitting Gilloran, who was cutting to the net, with a perfect pass. Gilloran made no mistake with the shot, beating Hamilton goalie Eric Boole from point blank range to win the game at the 88:30 mark.
"It was great to see a guy who hasn't played a lot come off the bench and score the game winning goal," Saint coach Bob Durocher said of Gilloran. "We have been able to go a little deeper into our bench and it paid off today.
"It wasn't one of our prettier games in terms of moving the ball and possessing it as we went a little more direct today, which made us more dangerous. The biggest concern I had was that I didn't want us to be caught three on three in the defensive end of the field. We have to take our hats off to Hamilton...we've played a lot of great games with them and I am going to miss competing against them."
Hamilton is leaving the Liberty League to become a full member of NESCAC beginning next fall.
The Saints dominated the second half of the game, but were thwarted by Boole and the post. SLU, which trailed 2-1 at the half, tied the game at the 54:54 mark, but couldn't pull ahead despite outshooting the Continentals 22-2 in the second half. The Saints had two shots rattle off the post with Boole clearly beaten and had a shot at the horn to end regulation hit the crossbar.
Hamilton took the early lead in the game as senior midfielder Jesse Arroyave took advantage of a loose ball in the Saint box and fired his second of the season past Saint goalie Nate Goss-Woliner. The ball was sent into the box by Hamilton and a Saint defender tried to chip it out of the air to make a clear, but the ball bounced straight to Arroyave for the easy goal.
St. Lawrence tied the game at the 22:42 mark as Dan Marvin sent a lead pass ahead to sophomore Sam DeMello and DeMello scored his eighth of the year, but Hamilton went back in front on a penalty kick by Frank Campagnano, his 10th goal of the year, at the 36:12 mark. Arroyave again had a hand in the play that put Hamilton in front as he broke past a Saint defender and was headed for a one-on-one with Goss-Woliner when he was hauled down by a defender to create the penalty kick opportunity.
"Its tough to be down and then come back like that, but you can't advance if you can't come back," Durocher said. "Hamilton has some hard-working and dangerous forwards and I thought James Stewart played his best game of the year for us in the back. Stewy really communicated well and broke up a lot of plays."
Junior back Mike Manfredi's long lead pass from his own defensive end sent forward Sean Scott away on a breakaway to tie the game at the 54:54 mark. Scott took the pass in stride and went one-on-one with Boole, scoring his sixth of the year.
Bucksam twice hit the post in the second half and Gilloran's long looping shot at the buzzer hit the crossbar, but the two made up for it with the late overtime game winner.
The Saints outshot Hamilton just 7-6 in the first half, but finished with a 34-9 total shot advantage and had eight corner kicks to none for the Continentals. Boole made 12 saves while Goss-Woliner had three for the Saints, who ran their unbeaten streak to 15 games.
"This is only another step for us," said Durocher. "The guys should enjoy this one, but we have another real tough game coming up on Saturday."