YORK, Pa. – The University of Scranton men’s soccer team continues to play at an elite level, and now the Royals are headed to the Elite Eight.
Sophomore forward Kevin Kozic (Raritan, N.J./Immaculata) scored in the 65th minute and the 25th-ranked Royals defeated 12th-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology, 1-0, in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 match on Saturday morning at Graham Field on the campus of York College.
Scranton (17-2-2) advances to the Elite Eight and will play an NCAA quarterfinal match against either Messiah or York on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Graham Field. The winner advances to the Final Four on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Messiah and York were scheduled to play at 1:30 p.m. at Graham Field.
The Elite Eight appearance is the fifth in school history and first since 1983, when the Royals made the last of four straight trips to the Final Four. The Royals are 4-0 all-time in Elite Eight matches.
Stevens (18-3-1) entered the match on a 15-match unbeaten streak and hadn’t allowed a goal in its last 853 minutes of action. That scoreless streak reached 917 minutes before Kozic broke through in the 65th minute when he ripped a shot into the left corner from just outside the box. It was his 11th goal of the season, second of the NCAA Tournament and fifth game-winning goal of the season.
From there, the Royals turned to their defense to hold off the Ducks. Senior goalie James Dillon (Downingtown, Pa./Downington East) made seven saves for his sixth shutout of the season. He entered the match ranked 48th in the country in goals-against average at 0.783.
The shutout was the eighth of the season for the Royals.
Ducks’ junior goalie Paul Killian (Ellicott City, Md./Marriotts Ridge) made four saves, but allowed just his seventh goal of the season. He entered the match ranked second in the nation in save percentage at 0.918 and third in goals-against average at 0.297.
Each team had 13 shots on goal while Stevens, which was ranked fifth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25, held a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks. Kozic had a team-high five shots for the Royals while senior midfielder Bill McGuiness (Forty Fort, Pa./Wyoming Valley West) had three.
Sunday’s national quarterfinal will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Graham Field. For live stats and live video, http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/ycp.portal#.
Tickets to Sunday’s quarterfinal are $6 for adults, $3 for students with ID and seniors over 55, and $2 for children ages 3-12.