NEWTON, MA- The Suffolk University Rams ousted Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) regular season champions Lasell College from the GNAC Men's Soccer Tournament today in a 2-1 semi-final upset on Taylor Field. The fourth seeded Rams will advance to the finals of the GNAC Tournament on Saturday, November 6th at no. 2 seed Albertus Magnus College. The no. 1 seeded Lasers season comes to a halt pending the announcement of the ECAC Tournament in hopes of a bid to continue post-season play.
Ben Rollins (Lee, NH) turned the game in favor of the visitors on the first shot of the game for the Rams, at 9:03. Nick Cugine (Ridgefield, CT) pitched a pass from just outside the eighteen to Rollins awaiting the play on the corner of the six to put Suffolk on top, 1-0.
The fateful shot that won the contest for Suffolk came off of Nicholas DiCicco's (Wethersfield, CT) foot thirty minutes later. Rollins tore down the center of the field on a breakaway, dribbling through Laser defenders to challenge goalkeeper Matthew Bruninghaus (Plymouth, MA). Rollins and Bruninghaus both went down in a collision on the shot which rendered the net wide open for DiCicco to tuck in the free range goal.
Lasell's Peter Trantalis (Norwich, CT) replaced an ailing Bruninghaus in the Lasers net after the collision. The teams parted for the break with a two-goal spread between them.
Lasell supplied 11 shots in the first period, but only two were on-frame, hindering the Lasers' chances of deflating the margin. Suffolk goalie Matt Esposito (Wallingford, CT) made two stops in the first half.
The hosts were not without prime opportunities in the second half, taking 11 additional shots in the frame, unfortunately the chances were unsuccessful. Fifteen minutes into the second half, on the Lasers' 21st shot of the contest, Jonathan Klippert (Cumberland, ME) successfully put the Lasers on the board. Kyle Cronin (Weymouth, MA) carried the ball from midfield to the top of the eighteen where he angled a pass over a Ram defender to Klippert who was sprinting down the right sideline. Klippert released from the right wing into the far corner post cutting Lasell's deficit.
Despite their best efforts over the remaining 20 minutes of the contest, Lasell could not sway the scoreboard in their favor and the Rams handed the Lasers their first conference loss of the season. Lasell's record rests at 9-8-2 overall while Suffolk bumps up to 10-7-1.
The teams combined for an astounding 43 fouls and four yellow cards in the demanding contest. Bruninghaus made two stops in over 39 minutes and Trantalis collected three saves in his first collegiate game between the pipes. Esposito turned away five Laser shots in the win.
The winner of the GNAC Tournament Finals on Saturday will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The ECAC Tournament begins on November 10th and all teams that are selected will be notified & match-ups will be posted online at www.ecacsports.com by 5:00pm on Monday, November 8th.