Pensacola, Fla. – The No. 21 Millersville Marauders were unable to develop enough scoring chances to counter No. 3 Fort Lewis Thursday night in the NCAA Semifinals. The Skyhawks scored in each half to defeat the Marauders by a score of 3-0, ending Millersville's banner season early.
Fort Lewis (23-1) controlled the first half of play outshooting Millersville (14-7-2) 7-0 in the period. The Marauders defense, led by senior All-American John Claffey, staved off the Skyhawks' attack for much of the first session. Claffey and freshman Jordan Brubaker made several defensive plays to hold Fort Lewis to just two shots on goal in the period.
"We had some chances today, and we didn't give them too many opportunities, so I thought we did pretty well for where we are," said Millersville coach Steve Widdowson. "They were just too quick for us. I think for the first 25-30 minutes we were a little too nervous and I think we kept in there. I think we did all we could do and the loss wasn't for lack of trying that's for sure."
In the 39th minute, Millersville tackled a Fort Lewis player just inside the box to give the Skyhawks a penalty kick. Fabian King struck the ball to the lower left corner to beat Millersville goalkeeper Brad Benzing and give the Skyhawks a 1-0 lead, ending Millersville's consecutive shutout streak at six.
The Skyhawks scored twice more in the second session, including a late goal in the 88th minute to extend their lead to 3-0.
Millersville was unable to muster an offensive threat, registering its first shot of the game in the 74th minute. Fort Lewis ended the game with a 19-2 shot advantage.
Benzing finished the game with nine saves.
"I'm really proud of how my players went at it today," said Widdowson. "Fort Lewis is a really tough team and I think my players gave it everything they could.. Coming in (the seniors) were really a significant part of turning this program around. When they started we won five games, and five years later we're at the NCAA Championships."
The Marauders conclude their season after making it the furthest the program had ever been--one of the last four teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament. Millersville also collected its second NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship in four years. Prior to that, the Marauders collected their first-ever PSAC Championship.
Pat Baffuto, Claffey, Ethan Daubert, Aaron Roland and Eric Pepper end their Millersville careers as the winningest class in school history with combined record 61-18-7.