BOSTON – Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) scored a goal with just 12 seconds remaining in overtime to propel the fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team to a 1-0 overtime victory against top-seeded Boston University in the semifinals of the America East Tournament Wednesday evening at Nickerson Field.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 9-5-5 overall and advance to the America East Championship game for the first time since 1994, as they take on No. 2 UMBC. Providing they don't receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Terriers end their season with an 11-5-1 record. For UNH, the win marks the second time it has defeated BU this season, as they are the only team in the America East to defeat the Terriers.
George delivered the game deciding blow on a feed from Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) who delivered the ball from the left of the box to an oncoming George at the doorstep and he was able to connect with it and punch it into the net at 99:48 to give New Hampshire the win.
The Wildcats and Terriers battled back-and forth in the first frame, with little team holding a major edge, as much of the action took place between the 18-yard lines. BU held a 13-4 edge in shots in the period, with the 'Cats putting only one shot on goal.
New Hampshire had a string of chances starting in the 30th minute when Robin Gerum (Gothenburg, Sweden) put a foot on a ball just outside of the box but missed wide. Just over a minute later Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) was able to center a ball from the right flank to Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) at the top of the box, getting a foot on the ball, but missed blasting it over the crossbar.
After ending the first half with a scoreless tie, the Wildcats would look to get on the board in the 60th minute, as Steven Palumbo took a corner kick delivering a ball into the box and Robert Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) was able to track it down, firing a shot from the top, but it was blocked by a BU defender and sailed high over the net.
Steven Palumbo would give the 'Cats another major chance to deliver the deciding the blow in the 80th minute of regulation when he drew BU goalkeeper Brandon Briggs out of position and slid a pass from the right side of the box to Roche in front of the net and he was able to get a foot on the ball, but missed and hit the right post.
Colin O'Donnell (Hampden, Mass.) notched his ninth shutout of the season, tallying six saves in the win. For the netminder, it is his second consecutive shutout this season, as he has not allowed a goal for 199.08 of play.
BU held the advantage in shots, 23-10. Robert Palumbo, George and Roche led the 'Cats with two shots apiece.
The Wildcats face off against second-seeded UMBC Saturday, Nov. 13 (1 p.m.) at UMBC Soccer Stadium. The winner of the championship game will receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA championships.