HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team was dealt a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime defeat in the NCAA Quarterfinals against SUNY Oneonta Sunday afternoon on Walton Field. In the immediate aftermath, a golden goal with 2:26 remaining in the first overtime session brings the program's most successful season of the NCAA era to a close. The loss ended a school-record 16 game winning streak that ranked among the best in the country.
However, a single goal does not define a season and it certainly doesn't define the careers of the four seniors who played their final games on Walton Field this weekend. When the senior class (Ian Alers, Brady Seitz, Colin Seitz, and Sam Yarosh) first stepped on campus, the team was a program on the rise that had just made the postseason for the first time in 19 seasons.
Fast forward through those four years and this group will graduate with two Centennial Conference Championships and two NCAA Tournament Appearances, highlighted by this year's run which was the furthest the program has ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament. In total, the slate will read 52 wins this senior class has been a part of. When next year's team steps on the field, they will be riding a string of five straight postseason appearances and will be coming off of the 18 victories from this season that set the program record for a single year. These records are just a few that were shattered during the memorable 2015 campaign.
The Fords' defeat on Sunday came at seemingly a time when they had all the momentum on their side. Even when they were outshot 6-1 during the first 45 minutes of play, Haverford found the back of the net on a corner only to see the assistant referee with his flag up to signal an offside call and the goal was disallowed.
In the second half, the Fords found their offensive footing and held an 11-2 edge in shots. The second half also featured a 7-0 edge in corner kicks after each side had three attempts at a corner in the opening half. In a cruel twist of fate, it was a corner that ended the Fords' historic winning streak as Dylan Williams sent SUNY Oneonta (19-3-1) onto the national semifinals with just 2:26 to play in the first overtime session.
Also working against the Red Dragons was the fact that they were playing down a man after all-conference midfielder Anthony Passiatore was sent off with a red card in the 89th minute of play. Nevertheless, four saves from Vincent Pellegrino held the Haverford offense long enough to see his team through to the national semifinals.
Haverford was led offensively by Will Corkery as he finished with four shots on the afternoon. Tejan Walcott joined his fellow all-conference forwards in Brady Seitz and Yarosh by adding two shots on the afternoon. Ben Field came off the bench to record a pair of shots, while Ryan Hill also had a shot on goal.
In goal, an injury to Sam Miller forced Chris Gibson into action. Miller made two spectacular saves to keep the game level before snatching a cross out of midair and colliding with the Red Dragons' offense. Gibson filled in admirably and made a highlight reel save of his own on a shot that he punched over the crossbar to keep his team's season alive.
Nevertheless, the untimely loss brings to an end the four decorated careers of Haverford's senior class. They all started during their career and came away with numerous all-conference awards and postseason recognition. However, they also appear to be leaving the program in good hands as 25 players from this year's team will look to return and push the team even greater heights in the years to come.