Top Seed American to Battle Lafayette for Men's Soccer Championship

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Nathan McDonald recorded the clean sheet for No. 2 seed Lafayette, sending the Leopards to the Patriot League championship match for the first time since 2007.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Nathan McDonald recorded the clean sheet for No. 2 seed Lafayette, sending the Leopards to the Patriot League championship match for the first time since 2007.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Nov. 9, 2012

2012 Patriot League Men's Soccer Championship Central

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The top two seeds in the 2012 Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament both posted 1-0 victories in their semifinal matches Friday, setting up a 1 vs. 2 showdown in Sunday's title contest at Reeves Field in Washington, D.C.

Top seed American advanced to Sunday's finale with a 1-0 win over No. 4 Bucknell in Friday's first match, while No. 2 seed Lafayette dethroned third-seeded and No. 3 Colgate by the same 1-0 score in the second semifinal.

Sunday's winner earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

It's the second straight season in which both top seeds moved on to the championship. Last year Colgate was the No. 2 seed and upended No. 1-seeded American in the final by a 2-0 score.

American remains undefeated in the tournament semifinals, improving to 5-0-4 all-time. The Eagles, who went unbeaten in the regular season against League teams, are seeking their third League title and first since 2004.

Sunday will mark Lafayette's return to the title match for the first time since reaching the finals three straight years from 2005-07. The Leopards have a League-best six championships, the last coming in 2005. Coincidentally, Lafayette as the No. 2 seed that year and posted a victory over the top-seeded Eagles to claim the trophy.

American and Lafayette will meet for the third time in the tournament. Their first encounter was in the 2004 semifinals, won 1-0 by the Eagles.

A full recap of both contests follows below.

No. 1 American 1, No. 4 Bucknell 0
Box Score

WASHINGTON, D.C. - First-team All-Patriot Leaguer Dale McDonald scored his sixth goal of the season in the first half and the American defense made it hold up as the top-seeded Eagles (11-5-2) edged No. 4 Bucknell 1-0 in the semifinals of the 2012 Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament at Reeves Field.

McDonald's tally came early in the 13th minute after a cross from Alassane Kane, a second-team All-League performer.

McDonald moves into a tie for third place in the League with 15 points. Kane's assist was his second of the season, giving him 14 points and moving him into a tie for fifth.

American outshot Bucknell 8-3 in the first half, and the Eagle defense did a good job of limiting the Bison's chances.

Pressing for the tie in the second half, Bucknell (7-8-5) outshot American 7-2 and had its best chance in the final minute after a foul was called just outside the 18. But the Bison's free kick from the edge of the penalty area sailed just high of the crossbar.

American keeper Billy Knutsen finished with a pair of saves to notch his seventh shutout of the season. Mike Lansing had three stops for Bucknell.

Both teams finished with 10 shots, and American had a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.

No. 2 Lafayette 1, No. 3 Colgate 0
Box Score

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Alec Golini capitalized on a failed clear to score his seventh goal of the season to send No. 2 seed Lafayette (8-7-4) to a 1-0 win over third-seeded Colgate (5-8-6) in the semifinals of the 2012 Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament at Reeves Field.

The Leopards will play for their seventh League championship, and are headed to the title match for the first time since making three straight appearances in the contest from 2005-07.

Golini's tally came in the 27th minute following a bad clear by Colgate. He blasted in the unassisted tally from about 15 yards out.

Nathan McDonald made three saves in goal for the Leopards to give him his League-leading seventh clean sheet of the season. He tied American's Billy Knutsen, who had posted his seventh shutout of the season earlier in the afternoon, at the top of the League standings.

Lafayette outshot defending champion Colgate 8-4 in the first 45 minutes, but the Raiders were the aggressors in the second. Colgate dominated the stat 9-1 in the second half and outshot the Leopards for the game 13-9.

Despite the shots edge, though, Lafayette's defense was able to prevent Colgate from earning a corner kick in the second half. All three of the Raiders corner attempts were in the first.

Golini, a first-team All-League selection earlier in the week, ties Colgate's Mike Reidy for the League high with seven goals on the campaign.

Colgate was seeking its fourth Patriot League title in six years.