Sailfish Men's Soccer Moves on to NCCAA National Championship Game

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

KISSIMMEE, FLA.- After a scoreless regulation and two overtime periods, the men’s soccer teams from Palm Beach Atlantic University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University moved on penalty kicks in the semi-finals of the NCCAA National Tournament on Saturday evening.

Playing the hero was PBA goalkeeper Joe Yurchak (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS) who came through with two clutch blocks in the round of penalty kicks while all four PBA attempts sailed into the back of the net, earning PBA a hard-fought 4-2 victory in penalty kicks.

“We showed a lot more heart tonight and even though it wasn’t our best game, I thought we hung in there well, said head coach Jose Gomez after the long game.

In a battle between the two and three seeds (PBA #2, MVNU #3), both teams featured the toughness and physical play one would expect from a national tournament field. After neither team could register a goal in the first 110 minutes, both coaching staffs would select their men and move into one of the most exciting spectacles in sports: soccer postseason penalty kicks.

The Cougars opened up the p.k. session with freshman Cody Snouffer (Delaware, Ohio) getting the nod from head coach Paul Furey only to see Yurchak deflect his shot when Snouffer attempted a shot to the lower-left corner.

With the Fish in control, PBA head coach Jose Gomez would call upon senior Matt Sweesy (Simpsonville, S.C.) for the first try. Sweesy delivered as he smashed the ball past the MVNU keeper for the score.

Down but not out, the Cougars would follow with a Chris Mast (Smithville, Ohio) attempt that escaped Yurchak’s outstretched arms and knotted the score. Junior Daniel Abrahamsohn, PBA’s leading goal scorer during the 2007 season was up next and he responded with a swift shot to once again put PBA ahead.

Trying to keep pace, Mount Vernon midfielder Scott Spangler (Pataskala, Ohio) stepped up only to be denied once again by Yurchak, opening the door for PBA to expand their lead. PBA junior Chance Sumner (Valrico, Fla.) would do just that as he gave PBA the 3-1 lead.

Zach Patterson, a Dayton, Ohio native, stepped up next and kept the Cougars alive with a solid kick to the back of the net, setting the stage for PBA to either win with another goal or continue with a miss.

Sailfish sophomore Cheyne Roberts was selected for the pressure kick and firmly placed his shot past the Cougars goalkeeper, sending the Sailfish faithful into a fury and landing Palm Beach Atlantic in the NCCAA National Championship game on Monday at 7:00 p.m. when they will take on the winner of #1-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University and #4-seeded the Masters College at 7:00 p.m.

“Joe (Yurchak) played tremendously in the goal tonight and his efforts along with our defense who continued to put up a clean sheet for the tournament, gives us a shot each game,” concluded Gomez.

Stay tuned to the PBA athletics website for full coverage of the NCCAA National Championship game on Monday night.

Special thanks goes out to Kyle Bloemers and Michael Meshaw for their contributions to this article.

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