Men's Soccer Tops Iona in Penalty Kicks (7-6) to Advance to MAAC Championship Game on Sunday
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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Borja Angoitia (Bilbao, Spain) showed the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Bobcat nation why he was selected as the league's top goalkeeper on Friday night. The Spanish native scored on the first penalty kick and made the decisive save on the final one to propel the Quinnipiac University men's soccer team to a 7-6 victory over Iona College in a pivotal shootout in the MAAC Semifinals from Lessing Field. With the win, Quinnipiac advances to the MAAC Championship to face Monmouth on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.
A grueling 110 minutes of soccer could not separate the two teams, leaving a nerve-racking penalty shootout to determine the winner. Saves were hard to come by in the segment, but that was only until the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year came through on Iona's eighth and final attempt. Angoitia dove to his left to block a low shot to the corner, which finalized a 7-6 win for the Bobcats in front of a boisterous crowd in Fairfield.
The game is officially recorded as a tie in the record-books, but Quinnipiac lives to see another day with a trip to the MAAC Championship. The Bobcats improved to 9-4-6 on the season with the result and will partake in their second conference tournament final in the last five years. Quinnipiac moved forward to the NEC Championship back in 2009, but saw its run come to an end with a loss 2-1 loss to Monmouth.
Friday night's game featured two evenly matched teams with Quinnipiac jumping out to an early lead. The Bobcats earned a free-kick right around midfield and took full advantage of the opportunity. James Doig (Liverpool, England) lofted a ball into the penalty area which bounced around, taking a series of deflections about 10 yards out. Just before an Iona defender was about to clear, Ola Ogunjobi (London, England) dispossessed the ball, took one touch and found Brandon Strain-Goode (Toronto, Ontario) standing alone in front of the goal. A quick pass and well-placed one-timer past the outstretched arms of Julian Petrello left Quinnipiac in front, 1-0, with 21 minutes remaining in the first half. It was Strain-Goode's second career goal, while Ogunjobi picked up his second assist of the season.
Quinnipiac pressed forward for the remainder of the half, but was unable to capitalize on some tremendous chances. After the halftime whistle, momentum began to turn in favor of the Gaels, which eventually led to the game-tying goal with just under five minutes left in regulation. The goal came off a long throw-in that found the head of Jordan Scarlett – who redirected it inside of the far post for the equalizer. The two teams failed to score again over the next 24 minutes and forced the penalty shootout.
The Bobcats revealed great confidence and character in the shootout, hitting seven out of their eight attempts. Justin Ward (New Egypt, N.J.) scored the game-winning tally by drilling a shot to the upper right corner of the net.
Angoitia finished with six saves on the night, none bigger than the final one to solidify the win. Petrello made 10 saves for the Gaels, who conclude their season with a 10-6-3 mark.
Quinnipiac's next game presents a daunting challenge in Monmouth. The Hawks have fared well in the all-time series dating back to the inaugural meeting when QU first joined NCAA Division I. MU is 12-3-2 against QU and 8-0-2 in their last 10 meetings. Back on Oct. 26, the Bobcats suffered its first loss in MAAC play in a 1-0 decision at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
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