Charleston, WV—The University of Maine Fort Kent men’s and women’s soccer teams each advanced to the USCAA Soccer National Championship games tomorrow afternoon as a result of their semifinal victories this evening. The men defeated Concordia College of Alabama, the #4 seed in a tough, hard fought contest, 2-0. The women defeated the #5 seed Florida College by a score of 4-0.
In the men’s game, the Bengals controlled play for much of the first half but had trouble finding the back of the net. Several shots sailed over the bar and too many first half offside calls were costly early on for UMFK. The defense of CCA was also spot on in the first half, clearing a majority of the crosses sent in by the Bengals. UMFK’s best chance came when 2014 Player of the Year Ben Kluvers took the rebound from a corner kick but hit the right post. The rebound came back to a Bengal who shot on target but the Concordia goalkeeper made a great save to tip it over the bar. This was the only the second time UMFK had been held scoreless in the first half all season.
Concordia had their chances in the first half however. Several consecutive corner kicks ended with a spectacular save from keeper Akheim Forbes, as a Concordia player headed it freely in at the 6 yard line but Forbes dove to his right and saved it.
The Bengals finally scored in the 50thminute when Senior Kennard Brown make a nifty move to get the ball to hit left foot and rocketed the shot around CCA keeper Fredy Mendoza. The Bengals kept firing shots, finishing with 21 on the night, 9 on goal. Mendoza made 7 saves on the evening. Kluvers added an insurance goal in the 88th minute to put the game out of hand. Willie Monthe had the assist. UMFK keeper Forbes had two point blank saves and finished with four in total to preserve the shutout.
The UMFK men will face nemesis and host West Virginia Tech in tomorrow afternoon’s championship battle. Last year WVU beat UMFK 3-2 in overtime. The teams were to have played during the season, but the match was cancelled. Kickoff is set for 4:00pm.
In the women’s game, much like the men’s UMFK had the better chances in the first half. The Florida defense was willing to give up the long shots but the Bengals finally broke through in the 16th minute as Brianna Mills sent a curling corner in the box, that Florida College keeper Hayley Mills mishandled and USCAA Player of the Year Katherine Ferland was there to clean it up and head it home. The Bengals would have very few chances from there in the first half as the Florida College defense played very well.
The second half was similar to the first where both teams had some chances but neither able to capitalize. The final score does not do the game justice as the Bengals added three goals in the final 19 minutes. The first of the second half in the 71st minute from Marie Laurence-Montagne. She took a pass from Catherine Bruno and dribbled down the left side of the box and sent the ball far post past the diving keeper. Senior Ariane Lebarge-Pelletier added the third goal of the evening for the Bengals just a minute and a half later as Yosselin Burrueco split the defenders and fed the senior on the run in the box, who used her left to power it in. It was then Montagne again as she worked hard for her second of the game. She split defenders and then played through a sliding tackle to keep the ball and then bent it into the upper right hand corner to close the scoring for the Bengals.
UMFK keeper Michelle Delgadillo made 3 saves on the night to run her shutout streak to four consecutive games. The Bengal women will look to defend their championship tomorrow as they match up against arch-rival Daemen College. Daemen beat UMFK 2-0 in a September meeting at Daemen. The two schools have met in each of the past two USCAA National Championships. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm.