Panther men’s soccer is upset in Coach Saward’s final game
CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Middlebury College men’s soccer team fell in a first-round NCAA Division III tournament game on Saturday, 1-0, to Stevens Institute, on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
The game was the final contest for retiring Middlebury head coach David Saward, who completes his 33-year career at Middlebury with a record of 359-126-59 and a winning percentage of .714.
Under Saward’s leadership, the team won three New England Small College Athletic Conference NESCAC playoff titles since the tournament’s inception in 2000, plus ECAC titles in 1986 and 1999. The team has also played in more than half of all NESCAC tournament title games.
The Panthers have appeared in NCAA tournaments 13 times and in 2007 claimed the NCAA championship with an 18-2-2 record. Middlebury also made NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 2008 and 2010.
Saward was selected as Division III National Coach of the Year in 2007 and has been selected as the Regional Coach of the Year on seven other occasions.
Program assistant Alex Elias, a Burr & Burton Academy graduate and standout central midfielder on the 2007 NCAA title team, will take over the program reins from Saward.
This year’s team ended with a 12-7 mark after earning its NCAA tournament berth with two 1-0 wins over higher seeds in the NESCAC quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.
On Saturday a hand ball in the penalty area was whistled on the Panthers with 1:32 remaining, and Kevin Brito converted to give the Ducks (13-6-2 after also upsetting host SUNY-Cortland on Sunday) the 1-0 win.
Middlebury outshot the Ducks, 9-6, and had good chances, forcing Stevens goalie Aaron Henry to make four saves. Middlebury goalie Jeremy Yeager stopped one shot.
The Panthers saw their first opportunity to get on the board 11:15 into the game, when Brandon Reid gained space in the box, but shot just wide. Henry stopped Reid in the 35th and 39th minute on Ben Potter corner kicks as the Panthers outshot the Ducks, 7-1, in the first half.
In 53rd minute, Drew Goulart got space one-on-one vs. Henry, but the keeper denied him. In the 61st minute Daniel O’Grady’s shot hit the crossbar from 15 yards away.
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