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AU throws a lot of resources into the attack. Reminds me of some UVa teams in the past. They do get exposed though on the defensive end, so it's a question of being willing to go down and have the firepower to come back. Dale Ludwig scored the game winner on a rocket off a corner kick clearance. We are taking our shots with more confidence now. Our next opponent, Boston U., beat us at Reeves Field 0-1, but Jordan Manley did not play that game. I am hoping that his play will be the difference.
AU advances to the PL Championship with a 2-0 victory over Boston U. They scored two goals on mistakes/questionable decisions from PL Goalkeeper of the Year, Matt Gilbert. AU put Boston under significant pressure early, and then held on against a lot of determination from Boston. AU's first half was a thing of beauty.
The Championship game is at 1pm on Sunday vs Lehigh. Boston has an RPI ranking of 31st, so they may get an at-large bid. Anything better than 40th should get them in. 48 teams make the tourney.
The second goal yesterday was off a nifty back-heel pass form Nick Sifrin after the Boston keeper came out and Nick successfully shielded the ball.
The best AU team since '97 IMO, so I am hoping that means success on Sunday.
The 2001 team that made the NCAA Sweet Sixteen had two unbeatable defenders in Larry McDonald and Bob Brennan and a team that gave up very few shots, so that made the team incredibly difficult to defeat.
The 2004 team had a bunch of tough defenders plus the late great Shawn Kuykendall at center midfield.
But this team is more complete. Their strengths are their weaknesses: they put so many resources into the attack, they find themselves in a vulnerable position on the counterattack. Another strength is that three of their defenders are former attackers, so they have great foot skills but are not as rugged as some backlines we have seen in the past.
Next year could be great too. We lose just four players though three are all conference. We have 5 all conference players returning and the makings of a great incoming freshman class. Top Drawer has a four star and two three stars on our list. I assume there is some talent in this year's freshmen but there has just not been any room for them to play much.
AU lost 2-1 to Lehigh in the Championship game. All three goals in the game were very impressive. If you want to see them, The PL put together a feature "Lehigh wins 2015 Men's Soccer championship" avaialble here:
It was a pretty even match. As often happens, the team scoring first winds up getting off fewer shots since they are more preoccupied with defending rather than scoring. but Lehigh was more consistently dangerous than AU. Excellent goals, which is not always the case in college soccer.
The announcement for the tourney selection show is at 1pm today. Boston U. has a better RPI than AU to get an at large bid, but since there were seven major upsets this weekend, I am guessing that it looks difficult even for them.
Raw deal for the Eagles. Flashes of brilliance all season long, impressive record, good wins over ranked opponents and then left on the sidelines for the tournament. 7 ACC teams are better than AU? I don't think so. These are the times when athletic directors and league commissioners go to bat for programs. The Patriot League had enough teams in the top twenty during the course of the season to merit more than one bid. NCAA makes a bad decision - shocker.
Washington - Lee high school in Arlington Va won the state championship yesterday. Starring for the Generals were Lucas Mendez (headed to UVa) and Maycol Nunuez (UMass). Readers of this board may remember I called on AU to monitor this young man more than a year ago. How did he perform? Well, more than 20 goals this season and he came on strong against the toughest opponents, posting 4 goals in the semi finals and 2 goals in the finals. Huge talent