Virginia Beach, Virginia—For the second consecutive year, the University of Maine at Fort Kent men’s soccer team took the most difficult path in route to the championship, beating Bryant and Stratton in penalty kicks, 4-2, after the teams tied 3-3 in regulation and two overtimes. For the second time in as many seasons however, junior goalkeeper Butch Forbes proved once again why he is the top player at that position, as he saved the Bobcats third penalty kick, and the Bengal kickers took care of the rest to preserve the win.
UMFK relied on a little bit of luck to even be playing in the championship game this afternoon. In last night’s semifinal round against Florida National University, the Bengals were handed a 2-0 defeat, thanks to two second half goals by the Conquistadors. It wasn’t until after the game, that USCAA officials learned from a
UMFK protest that the FNU coach, who had been ejected early in the first half, had violated his ejection and continued to coach his team at halftime and throughout the second half in various ways. Late last night, the USCAA ruled in favor of UMFK, that an NCAA/USCAA soccer rule had been violated and FNU therefore would be eliminated from the tournament, granting UMFK a spot in the championship contest.
In today’s match, Bryant and Stratton led throughout the game as they scored the first goal 17 minutes in, as Zino Zampach took a Matthew LeRoux cross and rifled it past Forbes. The fast-paced action would continue all half and finally the Bengals struck when Freshman Carlos Crusat-Lopez took a cross from three-time USCAA Player of the Year Ben Kluvers and sent it into the empty net.
Bryant and Stratton strangled momentum back as LeRoux scored a goal just 20 seconds into the second stanza and that 2-1 lead would hold up until the 80th minute when Crusat-Lopez scored his second of the afternoon and Jamie Reid followed up one minute and 52 seconds later to give, what looked to be the game winning goal for UMFK. However a Bobcat corner in the 89th minute from Zampach was headed in by LeRoux and just like that the game was tied at 3 at the end of regulation.
Bryant and Stratton had a couple of good opportunities in the overtimes, but neither team could score a goal, and so for the second consecutive year between the two teams, penalties would decide the champion.
(UMFK) 1-0 Kluvers started it off, drilling his kick to the right side of the goal. (Bryant and Stratton) 1-1 LeRoux for B&S nailed his.
(UMFK) 2-1 Miguel Barnaby then put his ball past Harry Watson.
(Bryant and Stratton) 2-2 Ojai Bedward froze Forbes and buried in the bottom left corner.
(UMFK) 3-2 Rodney Witter put his kick just out of reach from the sprawling Watson.
(Bryant and Stratton) 3-2 UMFK. Milan Jakovljevic’s shot was saved by a diving Forbes.
(UMFK) 4-2 Mark Parchment drilled UMFK’s fourth penalty to the back of the net. (Bryant and Stratton) 4-2 UMFK WINS, Gontzal Gili Balaguer misses high and UMFK is your 2016 USCAA National Champion.