BANGOR – Biting rain, strong wind and mud late in the game didn’t stop the Elms College men’s soccer team.
Instead, it gave the No. 7 Blazers of Chicopee, Mass., a way to celebrate after upsetting No. 2 Husson in double overtime of a North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Boucher Field.
Freshman Sean Moylan’s goal in the 106th minute off a chip-shot cross from Matt Kapinos lifted Elms past Husson 2-1.
“Over the past couple of weeks we’ve become the tightest family I’ve ever been involved in,” said Moylan, one of several Elms players slick with mud from sliding on the ground in celebration. “We just stuck to our tactics that coach [John Amaral] has been teaching us all year.”
The win puts the Blazers (7-9-1 overall, 5-5 in conference) in the NAC semifinal round against No. 3 UMaine-Farmington, a 1-0 winner over No. 4 Johnson State Saturday. Elms and UMF will play in the semifinal round Tuesday.
The Eagles wrap up their season 12-4-3 (7-2-1).
Husson earned a 1-0 win over Elms in their regular season matchup.
Husson outshot Elms 8-6 overall Saturday, including a 4-1 edge in the second half. Former Hampden Academy standout Nattapong Kongsuriya took advantage of the wind in the second half has he was alone on the left side of the penalty area for a goal to tie the game at 1-1. Greene native Jeff Truchon recorded the assist.
Not only did the Eagles have a shooting advantage, but they also took six corner kicks to one for the Blazers, and drew 14 fouls while committing six.
It added up to a lot of missed opportunities for Husson, which also had trouble coordinating attacks inside the 18-yard line.
“That’s been an issue we’ve had all year, getting service in the box and not committing to getting in there,” Husson coach Seth Brown said. “We played well, but you have to finish. I think the boys got so tuned in to scoring a goal that they forgot to play the game. When we started to play the game in the second half we started knocking the ball around and we gave ourselves lots of chances.”
Elms had three shots to Husson’s one with the wind in the first half, but Moylan’s winner was scored when the Blazers had the wind in their faces.
Moylan was in the penalty area for Kapinos’ chip from the right wing. Moylan flicked the ball over the head of Husson goalie Jon Cowie of Madawaska (four saves).
“Matty just chipped it in and I took it off my chest,” Moylan said. “[Forward] Brian Murca cleared a guy out and that left me wide open.”
Brown said the wind likely altered the flight of Kapinos’ ball.
“On something like that, the main priority is when that ball gets played to be the first one to it,” he said. “I think the wind put a lot of movement on that ball when it came through. It was a nice ball. Kudos to them, they finished their one chance in overtime.”
Moylan’s winner was his team-high sixth goal of the season. He recorded his first assist of the year in the 21st minute when he skimmed a ball off his head, redirecting it and placing it through to Jack Paulo II about 15 yards out.
“I knew [Moylan] was gonna play the ball through,” Paulo said. “I just put it away. We’ve been working together and he played me the ball perfect.”
Paulo ran on to the ball from the right wing and kicked it low into the left corner of the net past Husson goalie Jon Cowie of Madawaska.
Elms goalie Phil Joyce recorded seven saves.