The University’s men’s soccer dropped its match to the Catholic University Cardinals 1-0 Saturday, ultimately dooming its playoff hopes.
The game was a defensive affair on both ends, as there were only five total shots on goal. Still scoreless in the second half, Catholic sophomore Tyler Zimmerman netted the game-winning goal with 7:50 played.
Although Scranton outshot the Cardinals in the second half, they were not able to convert on any of them. Senior midfielder Bill McGuiness led the Royals with four shots, including one on goal.
Catholic faced The Merchant Marine Academy Mariners Monday in New Jersey. The Royals needed a Catholic win or draw to earn the fourth and final spot in the playoff race. Scranton was tied with Juniata College for fourth place, but Juniata holds the tiebreaker over Scranton.
Catholic came into Saturday’s match having been undefeated in the Landmark Conference, leaving plenty of hope for the Royals. However, Merchant Marine stuck with the Cardinals all game long, defeating them 2-1 in a double-overtime thriller.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead only 4:54 into the game as Tanner Nestler fired a long shot past Catholic goalkeeper Torsten Meuschke. Things were not looking promising for the Royals until Catholic’s Michael McCurnin scored the tying goal as the first half was nearing its end.
In the second half, both teams played sound defense as no goals were scored. The game was heading for overtime, and the Royals were hoping for a blessing.
The Cardinals outshot the Mariners 3-0 in the first overtime, but none of the shots found the back of the net. The game was now heading into double-overtime.
In the second overtime, Catholic committed a crucial penalty that led to an ejection and a penalty kick for the Mariners. Kyle Arestivo got the call, and he answered, handing Catholic its first conference loss of the season.
For the third time in four seasons, the Royals will not participate in the Landmark Conference tournament. With a conference record of 3-3-1, Scranton finishes the season in fifth place overall, which comes as a major disappointment for a program that reached the Elite Eight last season.
Prior to Saturday’s game at Fitzpatrick Field, the Royals honored eight seniors: defender Stephen Kilty, forward Derek Klingman, midfielder Colin McFadden, defender Jared Miranda, forward Nick Paganelli, midfielder Jimmy Peeler, forward John Spadaro and midfielder Paul Trisuzzi.
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