West Haven, CT –
It’s been four years since they last hoisted the Northeast Conference Men’s Soccer Championship Trophy, but the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights are back on top. The second-seeded Knights claimed their seventh NEC title in program history by virtue of penalty kicks, 6-5, after tying No. 4 Saint Francis (PA), 1-1, on Sunday afternoon at West Haven High School.
The Knights, who move to 9-5-6 overall, will now advance to NCAA Tournament where they will play an opponent to be announced Monday evening during the NCAA selection show. Saint Francis (PA) ends its season with a 6-7-7 record.
Nico Wright (St. Catherine, Jamaica/Jamaica College)
provided the deciding goal in the seven-round shootout, and junior Jacob Lissek (Highlands Ranch, CO/Rock Canyon)
denied two Saint Francis (PA) attempts to lift the Knights to the 6-5 win and earn NEC Tournament MVP honors. He finished the final with one save and posted three on the weekend.
In a game that featured great defensive play in the second half and both overtimes, it was an offensive showcase early on as each team struck off of corner-kick plays. Fairleigh Dickinson lit up the scoreboard first when senior Jack McVey (Douglas, Isle of Man/St. Ninian’s)
found a wide-open Nicholas Walker (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad/St. Mary's)
for a header with 9:51 elapsed.
Saint Francis (PA) countered the header with one of its own nearing the end, as senior James Price (Christchurch, New Zealand/St. Andrew’s College)
rang a shot off the right post and in with 82 seconds to play. Junior Nick Kolarac (Pittsburgh, PA/West Allegheny)
earned the assist, feeding Price from the right corner.
After the break, both teams went back and forth and had a couple of chances to break the deadlock, including in overtime.
FDU had back-to-back chances to open the second stanza. Antony Moore (Douglas, Isle of Man/St. Ninian’s)
rang a shot off the pipe before freshman Jan Aubert (Sandvika, Norway/Donski)
saw his putback attempt blocked by a Red Flash defender. Lissek then turned aside a prime chance by Kolarac just minutes later, cutting off the angle on an attempt to far post.
SFPA also had a great chance in the second overtime session when Friday’s goal scorer Ryan Byers (Scottdale, PA/Southmoreland)
hit the crossbar. Price then collected the rebound and booted it over the cage.
For the game, SFPA outshot Fairleigh Dickinson 14-13, while the Knights had the upper hand in corner kick attempts, 13-9. Senior Daniel Valcicak (Herndon, VA/Gonzaga College)
posted three saves in the game, two of which came in the first half when the Knights held a 7-4 edge in shots.
2012 Northeast Conference Men's Soccer Championship
2012 Northeast Conference All-Tournament Team
Jacob Lissek, FDU Sr., GK Highlands Ranch, CO/Rock Canyon
Alex Blackburn, MU Sr., GK Natick, MA/Natick
Emmanuel Agyemang, MU So., D Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University
Philip Suprise, QU Sr., F Milwaukee, WI/Pius XI
Simon Hinde, QU Jr., M Canberra, Australia/Narrabundah College
Ryan Byers, SFPA So., D Scottdale, PA/Southmoreland
James Price, SFPA Sr., D Christchurch, New Zealand/St. Andrew’s Co.
Daniel Valcicak, SFPA Sr., GK Herndon, VA/Gonzaga College
Jacob Lissek, FDU Jr., GK Highlands Ranch, CO/Rock Canyon
Anders Vest-Hansen, FDU So, M Nykobing, Denmark/Celf
Jason Wells, FDU Sr., D Montclair, NJ/Montclair
Nicholas Walker, FDU Sr., D Port-of-Spain, Trinidad/St. Mary's
Hosted by Quinnipiac University
Semi: #4 Saint Francis (PA) 1, #1 Quinnipiac 1 (2 OT)
(SFPA Advances on Penalty Kicks, 4-3)
FINAL l Boxscore | Recap l Highlights
Semi: #2 Fairleigh Dickinson 1, #3 Monmouth 1
(FDU Advances on Penalty Kicks, 4-3)
FINAL l Boxscore | Recap l Highlights
#4 Saint Francis (PA) 1, #2 Fairleigh Dickinson 1
(FDU Advances, Earns Championship 6-5 in PKs)
FINAL l Boxscore | Recap | Highlights