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Mustangs can’t hold on to lead, settle for 2-2 tie against Keuka College

Release courtesy of John Boccacino, Keuka SID

KEUKA PARK, N.Y. – With time running out during Tuesday afternoon’s pivotal North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) showdown with Morrisville State, the Keuka College men’s soccer team got a huge tying goal late in regulation to keep its postseason dreams alive. The Storm (8-4-2, 5-3-1 NEAC) rallied to earn a point with a hard-fought 2-2 overtime draw with the Mustangs on a windy afternoon at the Jephson Community Athletic Complex.

Trailing for the first 89 minutes and 55 seconds, sophomore Nate Schreiber (Hilton, NY/Hilton) played a free kick into the box for junior Reis Cunningham (Red Creek, NY/Red Creek). With Keuka trailing 2-1, Cunningham sent a header high over Morrisville State goalie Shane Sullivan’s (Sherrill, N.Y.) arms to tie the score with 1.5 seconds remaining. It was Cunningham’s first goal of the season, and capped a frantic Keuka rally from a 2-0 deficit.

Neither team was able to convert in the two golden-goal overtime periods, though Morrisville State did have a shot glance off the top of the crossbar. Junior Derek Condon (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) made 12 saves to preserve the tie for the Storm, which wraps up the regular season with a 1 p.m. Senior Day home game against SUNYIT (7-5-3, 7-0-2 NEAC), the first-place team in the NEAC.

The top five teams in the standings qualify for the NEAC postseason tournament, which runs Nov. 1-6. Keuka currently sits in a tie for third place in the conference along with Penn State-Harrisburg (8-4-2, 5-3-1 NEAC). The Storm has a slight lead on fifth-place Penn State-Abington (7-7, 5-4 NEAC) with Keuka, Harrisburg and Abington all having one NEAC contest remaining to solidify their postseason berths. Morrisville State finishes their season currently in 7th place.

The Mustangs (4-8-3, 4-3-2 entering game) had several solid looks on goal in the first half, but Condon denied each Morrisville State opportunity. Fifteen minutes into the game, Tom Huber (West Islip, N.Y.) ripped an 18-yard shot that Condon dove and made the save. Nearly four minutes later, it was Keuka’s turn to threaten with the first goal when Schreiber fed junior Nate Smith (Hilton, NY/Hilton) inside the goal box. But Smith pushed his shot wide of the near post and the score remained 0-0.

The Morrisville attack finally broke through in the 23rd minute. Huber broke in on goal and fired a shot that Condon deflected. The ensuing loose ball came back out to Huber, who finished the rebound goal for a 1-0 lead.

With the first half winding down, Condon made another big save to deny the Mustangs a second first-half goal. Huber blasted a shot from 10 yards out that Condon dove to his left and made the clutch save, one of his six in the half.
A persistent Morrisville attack tacked on a second goal 15 minutes into the second half. Off a free kick from Joey Plummer (Gates, N.Y.), Alex Borini (Rotterdam, N.Y.) delivered a header into the far post, past the outstretched arms of Condon.

The Storm finally got on the board in the 66th minute. Cunningham played a ball into Smith at the top of the box. In one fluid motion, Smith left his feet and struck a well-placed bicycle kick that sailed over Morrisville goalie Shane Sullivan’s head for Smith’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.

The score remained 2-1 until Schreiber and Cunningham hooked up on the clutch late-game goal.

The Mustangs finish their 2011 regular season with a 4-8-4 overall record and a 4-3-3 conference record.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.