HAVERFORD, Pa. – For the fourth time in the last four seasons, the Haverford College men's soccer team advanced to the Centennial Conference semifinals as the Fords picked up a 1-0 win over Johns Hopkins on Wednesday. The fourth-seeded Fords (10-6-1) got a goal in the 75th minute of play off the head of Brady Seitz to edge fifth-seeded Johns Hopkins (9-7-2).
With the win on Wednesday afternoon, the Fords will now set their sights on the Centennial Conference semifinals which will be played this Saturday at Franklin & Marshall. Haverford is set to face the top-seeded Diplomats in a 1 p.m. start time. No. 2 Muhlenberg and No. 3 Dickinson will make up the other semifinal.
Haverford kept the better of the possession as evidenced by a 9-6 edge in shots over the game. However, the Fords' biggest indication of their offensive pressure may have been the 8-2 edge in corner kicks. Seitz was finally able to make that eighth and final corner kick chance count as he beat the Blue Jays' defense in the air for his conference-leading 12th goal of the season. Will Corkery set the play in motion off the insert and was credited with his team-leading seventh assist of the season on the goal.
That played capped off what appeared to be building momentum on the side of the Fords throughout the contest. Haverford's best chance to score in the opening half came when Sam Yarosh had a clear shot on goal, but Johns Hopkins' keeper Matt Paris came up with the big stop to keep the game level. The Fords also had a chance on a direct kick from Corkery that was stopped during the first half of play.
The Fords continued the pressure in the offensive end as they earned four corner chances in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Haverford appeared poised to the take the lead on that fourth attempt of the half, but a header from Russell Nicholson traveled just high of the crossbar to keep the home team off the scoreboard.
Nevertheless, Haverford would not have to wait much longer as just under 10 minutes after Nicholson's header missed high, Seitz was able to again beat the Johns Hopkins defense in the air. This time, the header was on target and sent the Fords' crowd into celebration mode with the hard-fought 1-0 lead.
Corkery appeared poised to break the game open with a goal of his own in the 79th minute as the Blue Jays were whistled for a foul just inches outside of the box. His direct kick had good direction on it, but was able to be corralled by Paris.
Johns Hopkins' best scoring chance of the game came during the 87th minute when Matt Williams found himself in front of the goal with possession. This time it was the Fords' Sam Miller who came up with the big stop in what turned out to be the final time he was called upon in Wednesday's game. Miller made four saves on the afternoon to post his fifth shutout of the season and run his personal record to 9-3-1 overall on the year. His counterpart made five stops for the Blue Jays in net.
Men's soccer will now look to turn around an earlier 4-1 defeat at the hands of Franklin & Marshall this weekend. With a win in Saturday's semifinal round, the Fords would advance to the Centennial Conference Championship game to be played Sunday at 2 p.m. The Fords are 2-1 in their previous three trips to the Centennial Conference semifinals.