LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Siena Soccer is headed to the MAAC Tournament and they could not have punched their ticket in a more dramatic way. Junior Tom Allen scored the golden goal in the 101st minute as the Saints clinched the final MAAC Tournament berth by defeating rival Marist 2-1 in double overtime at Siena Turf Field.
Siena (10-7-2, 5-3-2) will be the No. 5 seed in the MAAC Tournament and travel to face No. 4 seed Monmouth in a conference quarterfinals match at a yet-to-be-determined time on Saturday. The teams will be meeting for the second time in a week after playing to a 1-1 draw last Saturday in Loudonville.
Entering the final day of the regular season, five teams including Siena and Marist (7-7-4, 3-5-2) were battling for three remaining MAAC Tournament berths. The Saints controlled their own destiny as they would be in with a win, but would need help if they tied. The Red Foxes would be in only with a win and some help.
The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute on senior Nathan Olukanmi’s first goal of the year. Allen sent a cross into the box from the left that was headed to the right by sophomore Uros Antic. The deflection found Olukanmi all alone on the right as he blasted home the match’s first goal inside the right post.
Siena was poised to take the lead into the lockerroom, but the Saints where whistled for a foul inside the box with just 13 seconds remaining in the first half. Marist’s Erik Dahl took advantage, scoring his third goal of the season to knot the score at 1-1 at the break.
With both teams’ seasons on the line, the match turned physical in the second half. In all, the teams were whistled for 39 combined fouls and issued 12 cards. In the 72nd minute, Marist’s Connor Preece was hit with his second yellow card and ejected from the match as the Saints would enjoy an 11-on-10 advantage the rest of the way.
Siena, which out-shot Marist 22-4 overall, took all 14 shots over the final 29 minutes following Preece’s dismissal. The Saints had several good chances to win it in regulation, but Allen hit a post in the 68th minute and then rattled a shot off the crossbar with exactly one minute remaining in regulation.
But just a minute into the final overtime, the Saints would cash in. Junior Matt O’Brien made a long throw from the right into the box that was batted around. A Marist defender trying to clear the ball off the line blasted the ball into the back of Allen which deflected just inside the right post to give the Saints’ their most important victory of the year.
Josh Weiss needed to make just one save for Siena which secured the program’s third 10+ win season in the past five years and just the program’s fourth double-digit win campaign in the team’s 41 seasons. Siena also achieved the program’s first-ever undefeated home season, finishing with a 6-0-2 mark at Siena Turf Field.
Mark Rajovic made five saves for Marist which has dropped each of the past five meetings between the programs in Loudonville.
Siena will now make its sixth conference tournament appearance in the past eight seasons as the Saints search for the program’s first-ever MAAC Championship.