GLENSIDE, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team saw its historic season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to fifth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology on Sunday night in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship at Arcadia University.
Winning the Centennial Conference title for the first time, the Fords (12-8-1) added another monumental accomplishment to the program annals by getting past Wesleyan (Conn.) University 4-2 in penalty kicks in the opening round to advance to the NCAA second round for the first time in program history. Hoping to continue its magical run, Haverford fell victim to the sixth-stingiest defense in the nation in its match-up with Stevens (18-2-1). The Ducks' defense held the Fords to just one shot on goal in the contest as Stevens, making its 12th consecutive appearance in the national tournament, registered its ninth straight shutout, and 14th overall, of the 2012 campaign. The Ducks remain unbeaten in their last 17 contests.
Stevens quickly broke out to a 2-0 advantage in the first 15 minutes of the contest. Freshman Joe Cellitti took a feed eight and a half minutes into action from Stephen Dunbar and got past the defense to tally his eighth of the season. Haverford's Matt Johnson tried his best to bring the Fords back two minutes later but Ducks goalkeeper Paul Killian (18-2-1) made the save. Cellitti struck again in the 15th minute when he headed Zach Adler's corner kick inside the near post past Andriy Mshanetskyy (12-7-1).
Participating in the national tournament for the fourth time in program history, Haverford turned up the attack at the 25-minute mark as an opportunity by Colin Seitz trickled through the face of the goal but the Fords couldn't capitalize. Five corner kicks in the final 20 minutes and unwavering support from the vocal Haverford faithful in attendance gave the Fords the momentum at the break despite allowing two goals in the first half for only the third time this season.
Undaunted by the task of needing two goals to tie against a defense that only gives up 0.41 a contest on average, Haverford came out with its usual fire in the second half but couldn't get a sustained attack going against the Ducks.
Stevens managed to break through for the final score of the night when Zach Adler, the player of the year in the Empire 8 Conference, took a short cross from Leonardo Casas and fired a well-placed strike from 20 yards out that was out of Mshanetskyy's reach. The Ducks joined Messiah, currently ranked first in the country, as the only squads to score over two goals this season against the Fords' trademark sound defense.
Haverford showed no quit, however, and continued to battle as Seitz's header in the 80th minute went wide right.
Falling for just the second time in their last seven outings, the Fords reached 12 wins for the first time since 1999 and registered double figures in victories for the second consecutive season -- a feat last accomplished in the program in 1999 and 2000.
The loss brings a close to the careers of seniors Matt Gorski, Dan Garfing, Julien Calas, Trevor Barlowe and Charlie Michele. The quintet oversaw Haverford soccer's re-emergence as the squad went 23-14-3 in the final two seasons of their careers. Gorski, a co-captain, graduates as the program leader in penalty kick goals with four.
Stevens, who made it to the final eight last season, advances to the NCAA round of 16 next weekend against the University of Scranton.