YORK, PA – The York College men's soccer team advances to the second round the NCAA Tournament courtesy of a second half goal by senior captain Cody Pearson (Crofton, Md./DeMatha Catholic) as the Spartans edged St. Joseph's of Long Island 1-0 in the opening round of the tournament at Graham Field in York. With the win, York improves to 18-2-2 while the Golden Eagles finish out their season with a final record of 13-10.
The Spartans started the game off playing inspired soccer as they had numerous opportunities early in the contest. Just 40 seconds into the game, Austin Johnson (Avalon, N.J./Middle Township) had a great opportunity at a goal as he split two defenders and ripped a shot to the right side of the net. However, a diving save by Golden Eagle goalie Chris Muhs prevented York from taking the early lead. Just minutes later, a strong header attempt by Antonio Bua (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) would fail to find the back of the net as it went just wide to the left.
York dominated the first half of play by registering 12 shots to St. Joseph's one. Most of the Green and White's attempts were coming from inside of the box as they were setting each other up nicely with combination plays. A few offside infractions and a solid performance by Muhs nullified York's chances at taking the lead into halftime.
As the second half began, the Green and White once again came out with the determination to finish their offensive chances. York ripped off six shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half and again was getting good looks from inside the box.
In the 69th minute, Pearson received the ball on the right side of the field, turned and found Bua streaking towards the middle. Pearson's pass sprung Bua between two defenders as he broke into the top of the box. Bua attempted to slip a shot past the goalie but his shot was saved initially. Pearson, following the play, collected the loose ball and finished with a hard strike to the right side of the net for the Spartans' game-winner.
The goal by Pearson gave York the 1-0 lead with 20 min remaining in regulation. The Spartans tried to extend the lead as they tacked on seven more shots with time winding down. The Green and White finished the game by out-shooting the Golden Eagles 31-3 and also holding the edge in corner kicks by a margin of 7-4
Making his first career start for York, goalkeeper Brad Schmidt (Moorestown, N.J./Delran) recorded one save as he and the rest of the Spartan back line limited all offensive chances by St. Joseph's. The one save was a big one as Schmidt was forced to make a stop just under a minute into the second half that would completely changed the complexion of the game.
The shutout it was York's 11th clean sheet of the season.
Despite allowing one goal in a stellar performance, Muhs tallied up 13 saves for the Golden Eagles as he was under constant pressure all game long.
York will return to action on Sunday as they advanced to the second round of NCAA Men's Division III Men's Soccer Tournament where they will face the winner of the Rutgers-Camden/Medaille first round game. Game time is slated for 1:30 pm at Graham Field.
Story written by Derek Behrenhausen, Athletic Communications Student-Intern