BABSON PARK, Mass. – The University of Scranton men’s soccer program waited nearly 20 years to return to the NCAA Division III Tournament. When the Royals got there Saturday morning, they wasted little time taking advantage of the moment.
Senior midfielder Bill McGuiness (Forty Fort, Pa./Wyoming Valley West) scored 35 seconds into the match and the Royals dominated in all phases en route to a 6-0 victory over Elms College at Hartwell-Rogers Field at Babson College.
Scranton (15-2-2) advances to a second-round match on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Babson. They’ll face the winner of Babson and Colorado College, who were scheduled to play immediately following the Scranton-Elms match.
McGuiness finished the day with two goals, and the Royals also received goals from sophomore forward Kevin Kozic (Raritan, N.J./Immaculata), junior forward John Spadaro (Stony Point, N.Y./Albertus Magnus) and freshman midfielder Michael Romano (Freehold, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy).
Kozic’s goal in the 13th minute on an assist by sophomore midfielder Rich Loeffler (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) pushed the Royals’ lead to 2-0. Spadaro stretched it to 3-0 just before halftime off an assist from sophomore defender Tom O’Connor (Great River, N.Y./St. John the Baptist).
Scranton kept the pressure on to start the second half and Romano capitalized with a beautiful goal in the 52nd minute, and McGuiness tallied in the 56th minute for his second goal of the match. An own goal by Elms in the 59th minute completed the scoring.
McGuiness now has a team-leading 11 goals on the season while Kozic scored his 10th of the year. Spadaro and Romano each picked up their second goals of the year. Senior midfielder Matthew Salvatore (Howell, N.J./Howell), who assisted on McGuiness’s first goal, earned his fifth assist while O’Connor picked up his fourth and Loeffler tallied his third.
The NCAA victory was Scranton’s first since a 3-1 win over Muhlenberg in the opening round in 1990. Saturday marked the Royals’ first NCAA appearance since 1993, when they dropped a first-round match to Elizabethtown, 2-0.
The Royals held a 24-9 advantage in shots and an 11-4 edge in corner kicks. Senior goalie James Dillon (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) made three saves for his sixth shutout of the season.
Elms, which earned an automatic bid to the tournament by winning the New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference title, saw its season end at 11-8-2.
The winner of Sunday’s second-round match will advance to an NCAA Sectional on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18.