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Monthly Archives: November 2014

PAC Men’s Soccer Championship Preview

by John D’Abruzzo

The table has been set for this year’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference men’s soccer championship game.

Five-time defending champion Thomas More College (16-2-1) returns to the title match and will face Grove City College (12-6-1) at noon on Saturday afternoon at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. Both the Saints and Wolverines needed double-overtime sessions to advance past their respective semifinal opponent.

Tim Knauer

TMC sophomore Tim Knauer

Thomas More, which entered the conference tournament as the top seed, knocked off No. 4-seed Geneva, 2-1, at home on Tuesday. Sophomore defender Tim Knauer (Batavia, Ohio), notched the game-winning goal at the 108:58 minute mark. Sophomore midfielder R.J. Best (Lorton, Va.) and senior forward Jake Plummer (North Olmsted, Ohio) were credited with the assist.

Sophomore midfielder Matthew Spanyer (Lexington, Ky.) helped give the Saints a 1-0 lead 33:32 into the game when he chipped in an unassisted goal. Geneva tied the game at the 66:58 mark when Gib McCracken put the ball past Thomas More’s senior goalkeeper Matt Kees (Covington, Ky.).

Thomas More dominated possession and out-shot Geneva, 26-2. Kees made 10 saves in net and allowed just one goal to pick up the win.

Grove City, the No. 2 seed, also needed a second overtime to beat Waynesburg, 2-1, at home on Tuesday. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Betteridge (Pittsford, NY) provided the game-winning goal at the 103-minute mark.

StephenBetteridge

GCC sophomore Stephen Betteridge

Sophomore Dale Reese (Rocky Hill, Conn.) notched his sixth goal of the season seven minutes into the game to give the Wolverines and early 1-0 lead. Sophomore defender Nick Leaman (Lancaster, Pa.) hit Reese with a long pass to get credited with the assist.

Freshman keeper Malcolm Blake (Moreland Hills, Ohio) made his first collegiate start in net. He made seven saves to earn the win as the Wolverines out-shot the Yellow Jackets, 32-25.

Grove City will make its first championship appearance since 2005. Last season, the Wolverines lost to Washington & Jefferson during the semifinals. The Presidents topped the Wolverines, 4-3, in a shootout.

Grove City’s Seth Loew (Center Valley, Pa.), a junior forward, led the conference in scoring with 10 goals and 29 total points. He also ranked second in the conference with nine assists. Senior forward Jonathan Rothgeb (State College, Pa.) and Reese both follow with six goals.

Thomas More has won seven straight since tying Geneva on Oct. 9. The Saints, who are averaging three goals a game, haven’t lost since dropping a 1-0 decision against non-conference Anderson on Sept. 13.

Sophomore forward Brian Runyon (Parkersburg, W.Va.) has been the Saints top scorer with 19 points. He’s scored eight goals and had three assists this season. Sophomore midfielder RJ Best follows with six goals and five assists. Kees has nine shutouts this season.

These two teams recently played Nov. 1 in a regular-season finale. Thomas More won that match, 4-1. The Saints jumped out to a 3-1 advantage in the first half and never looked back.

Thomas More is 6-5-1 all-time against Grove City. The winner of the PAC championship game will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships next week. Admission for the conference championship game, as well as the women’s title game, is $5. If you can’t make it to the game, the title tilt will be broadcast live on the PAC Sports Network at www.pacstream.net

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