When Fredonia State?s Jeff Moretti headed in his team?s third goal with just 25 minutes to play in Saturday night?s NCAA first-round game, one could almost hear the commentators talking about the proverbial nail going into the coffin. But with their season in the balance, Carnegie Mellon fought back and scored twice, including a desperate header by midfielder William Schlough with less than three minutes left in regulation. Schlough?s header eliminated the 3?1 deficit and sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, though, CMU never got on track, and Fredonia?s Brandon Derkacz ended the sudden-death period with a point-blank blast that came off a loose ball inside the box. The goal ended the Tartans? impressive season, which saw the team replace four key starters and still climb as high as number 19 nationally, winning 13 games.
?It?s still a good season for us,? said sophomore midfielder Sean Filipovitz. ?Getting to [the] NCAAs again was a big accomplishment; that?s what we were going for at the beginning of the year. Everyone hoped for more, and it was unlucky, but it happened.?
The Tartans? comeback began with 12 minutes to go when CMU?s leading career scorer Jonathan Browne followed his own blocked penalty kick with a left-footed rebound past Fredonia goalie Matt Borchard. Then, in the 87th minute, Schlough headed in the tying goal off a throw-in from first-year Daniel Brackley.
?That?s just the way this team is,? said Filipovitz. ?We?re not going to give up. The seniors were out there pumping everyone up, letting them know we still had a chance. Then when Jon punched in the PK, we knew we were still in it. Thought we had it.?
Carnegie Mellon got off to a quick start in the game. Just 25 minutes in Jonathan Browne was taken down in the box chasing a cross from Andrew Park. He netted the subsequent penalty kick to give CMU a 1?0 lead.
Soon, though, things spiraled out of control for the Tartans. Just five minutes before the end of the half Fredonia was awarded a penalty kick after Vincenzo Alfiero was tripped on a breakaway. CMU goalie Mathew Bazin saved the ensuing penalty kick and then dove to knock away Alfiero?s one-time follow, and Matt Wilkinson cleared the ball out of danger. Three minutes later, though, Fredonia scored when Nathan Gross sent a ball across the box; Michael Battisti pocketed it just inside the near post.
In the second half, Fredonia immediately jumped on the attack. Jason Juskiewicz scored on a shot from 20 yards out. Twenty minutes later Moretti headed in his goal to give Fredonia their stranglehold on the game.