DeMello Lifts Saints To Round of 16 With Overtime Goal
Junior midfielder Sam DeMello scored his second goal of the game 4:08 into overtime to lift St. Lawrence University's men's to 3-2 win over Western New England University and into the round of 16 in the 2011 NCAA Division III men's soccer championship.
The Saints, 4-0 winners over SUNY Maritime in the first round, advanced for the fourth straight time, and earned their first second round win since 2005 when they reached the sectional finals. SLU went into the Western New England game 1-5-0 since 2002 with the lone win a 3- 1 victory over Rochester in 2005.
DeMello put the Saints in front 4:12 into the second half as Golden Bear goaltender Domenick Villani couldn't control the ball in a one on one leaping contest with Saint back Brain Laird. The ball bounced off Villani's hands and to DeMello, who one-timed a shot from 12 yards out to make it a 2-1 game. Western New England came back to tie it, scoring off a restart with 5:16 to go in regulation.
The Saints came up with the game winner following a throw in deep in the WNE end. Andrew Bednarsky took the ball after Brian Gilloran's throw and cut back across traffic. DeMello moved to the middle and took the ball on the fly, burying the ball inside the far post for the game winner.
"I can't say enough about what Sam DeMello has meant to this team," said Saint coach Bob Durocher. "With the guys who have been injured, he has taken the team on his back and they have rallied around him."
The Saints found themselves trailing for the first time in 14 games when Western New England scored on a quick strike as Jake Bartnik took a pass from Shawn Fitzpatrick and broke in one-on-one against Saint goalie Brian Abernethy. Barnik's shot eluded Abernethy's dive and snuck inside the near post, snapping a 1370:20 scoreless streak for the Saint defense 16:51 into play.
St. Lawrence, playing with the wind in the first half, had several good runs, but had trouble keeping the ball from going long. The Saints finally cashed in and tied the game with 3:55 left in the first half following a throw-in deep in the Golden Bear's end. Shaka Pilgrim controlled Yanick Brown's throw and sent the ball to the top of the penalty area. Freshman Mark Provost then hit a shot from about 22 yards out which cleared WNE goalie Domenick Villani's leap and curled under the crossbar for Provost's second goal of the year.
"We knew this was going to be tough on the road. We had to dig deep, and we got excellent support from the bench all weekend. We got three goals off the bench this weekend and that is the kind of thing you need at this time of the year," said Durocher. "This is the kind of game that brings you together as a team and that's what you need at this time of the year...it isn't going to get any easier from here.
Western New England, which went into the game ranked 19th nationally outshot the Saints 14-11 and had seven corner kicks to one for the Saints. Abernethy made three aves while Villano had one for the Golden Bears.
"My hats off to Western New England," said Durocher. "They're a good team and they battled hard. They played well with the wind advantage in the second half, and I thought we might be done a couple of times, but we were able to pull it out.
"We look forward to getting the next round at home, and hopefully we will get the same fan and alumni support we had here in Springfield in the next round," Durocher said.