Final Four Bound! Late heroics lift Centre past Montclair State in overtime

Final Four Bound! Late heroics lift Centre past Montclair State in overtime

Courtesy of Centre Athletics

GAMBIER, Ohio (Nov. 24, 2019) – Facing defeat in the final minute of regulation, Centre men's soccer pulled off a stunning come-from-behind 3-2 victory in overtime against Montclair State Sunday afternoon, advancing to the NCAA semifinals with another thrilling decision at Mavec Field. 

Trailing 2-1 with less than 60 seconds on the clock, Dylan Barth equalized to force overtime, where Will Newton provided the game-winning golden goal.

The Colonels improve to 20-3-1 overall – setting a record for victories in a season – and continue their best NCAA run ever with a trip to the "Final Four," riding a 14-match winning streak.

Montclair State, which rallied from one down to take its late 2-1 advantage, ends the season with an 18-5-2 record.

HIGHLIGHTS 

- Montclair earned a handful of corner kicks in the opening stages of the match but had no real scoring chances to show for it due to Centre's efficient backline.

- Centre's first shot on goal was a free-kick opportunity from Alexander Garuba in the 16th minute, but it was saved by Montclair's Michael Mejia. Just moments later, Garuba sent a shot ringing off the crossbar.

- Nothing separated the two sides on the scoreboard after 45 minutes.

- That wouldn't last long into the second half, however, as Ethan Noel scored on a shot from distance after finding himself open with space to operate. Carson Hart earned the assist on Noel's second goal of the season.

- Mejia came up with massive saves over the next few minutes as Centre pressured for another goal.

- The Red Hawks had an answer on the other end, however. Nixon Soglo's chip-shot goal leveled the score at 1-1 in the 69th minute.

- Barely two minutes later, Soglo slotted home his second score off a helper from Joe Bianco, making it 2-1 in favor of Montclair State.

- Garuba and Nafiz Budeiri each put shots on frame over the next few minutes, but Mejia proved equal to the task.

- With just 50 seconds on the clock, however, Barth – who missed significant time due to an early injury – capitalized on a scramble in front of the goal face. He found the back of the net for his ninth tally of the season, forcing overtime. 

- Montclair State earned two early corners, in the opening overtime session, but both were well defended as no shots were taken against Centre's Haydon Korfhage.

- It didn't take long for Newton to end the affair and officially send Centre through to the national semifinals. Garuba delivered a pinpoint assist over the top of Montclair's defenders, setting up Newton for a one-on-one with Mejia which he took full advantage of for his ninth score of the season.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

- Centre out-shot Montclair State 24-7 overall, including a 10-3 edge in shots on goal. The Red Hawks held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.

- The Colonels have only trailed three times during their current 14-match winning streak, and Sunday was the first time trailing throughout the NCAA Tournament.

- Their winning streak matches the 1995 squad's 14-game run for the longest in program history.

- Centre's 20 victories top the 1991 team's 19 wins for most in a single season.

UP NEXT

Centre meets No. 1/4 Amherst in the NCAA semifinals Friday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C. at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. Amherst defeated Rensselaer in Sunday's sectional final and returns to the "Final Four" after winning the NCAA Championship in 2015.