Men’s soccer awarded automatic NCAA bid
Everything seemed to go against the Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team this past week as they followed last week’s 1–0 loss to University Athletic Association (UAA) rival University of Rochester with a 2–2 tie against a sub-par Emory University team; they then heard that conference co-leaders Rochester had also tied on the last day of conference play. Saturday’s results put Carnegie Mellon, Rochester, and the University of Chicago in a three-way tie for the UAA title. However, as a result of the UAA tiebreaker, Carnegie Mellon was ultimately awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA championship. The Tartans, who finished the regular season at 14–2–1, now have to wait for Monday’s draw to see where and who they will play in the NCAA tournament.
The Tartans’ game against Emory was their third straight road game in less than 10 days, but the team knew that it was important for them to get a good result in their last regular season match of the year.
The Tartans came out very strong and made sure to test Emory goalkeeper Trenton Spindler early on. The duo of seniors Pat Lutz and Ricky Griffin gave the backline a hard time as always, but it was a fellow senior that was able to break the deadlock. Red-hot Ryan Browne was finally able to beat the Emory goalie in the 22nd minute off a Pat Lutz assist. Despite recording three shots and putting on continuous pressure thereafter, Carnegie Mellon was unable to extend their lead before halftime.
In the second half, Griffin notched another goal for the Tartans as he recorded his career-best 19th in-season goal. The Tartans thought they had the game in their hands with a comfortable two-goal lead, but a late rally from Emory caught Carnegie Mellon by surprise. With 10 minutes left in regulation, Emory netted a goal in the 81st minute and then again two minutes later. The Tartans, unsatisfied with a draw, continued to push forward. Browne nearly got the win for his team late in the game, but the Emory goalie came up with another great save.
The game ended 2–2. However, there is a three-way tie for first place in the UAA among Carnegie Mellon, Rochester, and Chicago, all at 5–1–1.
Once the NCAA draw comes out later today, the Tartans will know their first opponent in the tournament.