YORK, PA – The York College men's soccer team battled to a scoreless tie with the Alvernia University Crusaders on a brilliantly sunny Wednesday afternoon in York.
The Spartans, who are ranked 19th in the nation according to the NSCAA poll and ninth according to d3soccer.com, are now 3-1-1 with the tie. The Crusaders remain unbeaten at 4-0-2.
The Spartans controlled play in the first half but really didn't have many quality chances. The Green and White held a slight 3-1 edge in shots on goal but none of the four chances were dangerous for either team.
The hosts picked up the pace in the second stanza. In the 53rd minute, freshman Greg Bechard (Newark, Del.) carried the ball to the end line before lofting a beautiful crossing pass across the mouth of the goal. The ball carried the whole way to the far post where senior Justin Facer (Prospect Heights, Ill./North Allegheny) was the only player able to get anything on the ball. Facer's header was hit directly to Crusader goalie Ben Diller who recorded the easy save.
The Spartans had an even better chance in the 55th minute as Facer drew a foul about 15 yards outside the box. He took the free kick and found the head of junior Austin Johnson (Avalon, N.J./Middle Township). Johnson's header hit square on the cross bar as the rebound caromed harmlessly away.
The Crusaders answered the Spartan flurry with five shots and a pair of corner kicks over the next ten minutes. The fourth shot of that period was a long distance strike from Nate Swarr that Spartan senior netminder Jesse Derksen (York, Pa./Susquehannock) was able to stop with a diving attempt. The fifth shot was more dangerous as Joe Raymond hit an absolute missile from 25 yards out that skimmed the top of the cross bar before heading out of bounds.
In the 78th minute, Alvernia's Ricky Bruno had a one-on-one with Derksen and the Spartan netminder charged out and made an aggressive save to preserve the scoreless tie.
York made a brilliant run in the 83rd minute as Ryan Donahue (York, Pa./York Suburban) carried the ball off a long outlet pass. He fed a pass to Daniel Baxter (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) who deftly touched the ball to James Garrison (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh). Garrison one-timed the ball but Diller was in great position to make the stop for the Crusaders.
Diller stood tall again in the 85th minute as Matt Martinez (Cheltenham, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) hit a free kick from 28 yards out that Diller stopped to keep the Spartans off the board.
Four minutes into the first overtime, senior Antonio Bua (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) had a great chance at the top of the box but his shot just slid outside of the unguarded left post.
The highest drama of the game came with just under two minutes left in the second overtime as the Crusaders had a corner kick. Kyle Martin lofted the corner kick into the box where it finally found the head of Tyler Reinoehl. Reinoehl headed the ball past Derksen who had come out to challenge the ball. Freshman Patrick Ward (Prince George, Va./Prince George) cleared the ball off the line but back into the heart of the box where the Crusaders drilled in the rebound for the apparent game-winning goal. However, the sideline official had raised his flag signifying off sides, negating the goal.
The Spartans ended with a 22-11 edge in total shots and an 8-4 margin in shots on goal. Alvernia had a 6-5 advantage in shots while both teams had 12 fouls and one yellow card in the aggressive but well played contest.
Derksen earned the shutout with three saves as he improves to 0-1-1. The shut out was Derksen's 12th career clean sheet. Diller registered eight saves for the Crusaders to earn his shut out.
The Spartans open Capital Athletic Conference play on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Wesley College. Kick off in Dover, Delaware is set for 5:00 pm.