ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Holy Cross senior captain Dane Kenny (Williston Park, N.Y.) tallied the game-winning penalty kick in the sixth round of shots to help the Crusaders defeat Army in the Patriot League men's soccer semifinal game on Friday evening at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. The No. 2 seed Black Knights and the No. 3 seed Crusaders played to a 1-1 draw over 110 minutes of action, before Holy Cross won in the shootout, 4-3. Holy Cross is now 9-8-2 overall, while Army concludes its season at 12-3-3.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to play for the Patriot League championship," Holy Cross head coach Marco Koolman said. "This is a great experience for the team to have a chance to earn an NCAA bid. The players deserve this for all of the hard work and dedication they put in this year."
The Crusaders will take on No. 1 seed Navy in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1:00 p.m. in Annapolis, Md. The Mids defeated No. 4 seed Bucknell, 1-0 earlier in the evening. The Crusaders will be making their fourth appearance in the Patriot League championship game and their first since 2008. Holy Cross won the championship during the 2002 season, as it also made it to the final game in 2001. The Crusaders nine wins this season are their most since 2008, when they went 9-5-5.
After a back-and-forth first half in which the Black Knights held the 3-0 advantage in shots on net, Holy Cross tallied the game's first marker in the 55th minute. Crusader senior captain Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.) fed the ball into the box to the foot of freshman forward Joey DeVivo (Ridgefield, Conn.), who had a one-one-one with the goalkeeper and drove a shot into the back of the net. The goal was DeVivo's team-leading sixth of the season and the helper by Sanders was his squad-best eighth of the year, which moves him into second place on the all-time single season list in program history.
The Black Knights, however, responded right away, as Alex Jaroscak took a pass from Sean Mogan and launched a shot from just outside the box in the 56th minute to knot the score at 1-1. The marker was Jaroscak's third of the season. DeVivo had a chance to break the stalemate in the 74th minute, as he ripped a shot on net, but it was pushed aside. Both teams would not find any more scoring chances, as they would force overtime. In the extra sessions Holy Cross held the upper hand, as it had four shots on net to Army's zero, but it could not slip any past the Black Knights' goalkeeper.
After 110 minutes of action the two teams would decide the game on penalty kicks. Army jumped ahead quickly and scored on its first two shots of the shootout. The next three Crusaders, senior Max Pettinelli (Scituate, Mass.), senior Tommy Uttaro (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Sanders all scored on must-make shots to keep Holy Cross alive. Crusader sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas) also made a huge stop in the fifth round of the penalty kicks to give Holy Cross a chance at the comeback. After Army missed its first shot in the sixth round, Kenny drove home the game-clincher to claim the win for the Crusaders.
"After not creating a lot of opportunities in the first half, we played very well in the second half and had a lot of good chances," Koolman said. "To come back trailing 2-0 in PKs really shows our resiliency. Wright came up big in net and we were able to finish our chances."
Wright made four saves on the evening, while his counterpart Winston Boldt made five stops for the Black Knights. Holy Cross held the 13-9 edge in shots and the 6-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Crusaders also held the slim 8-7 margin in corner kicks.