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Men's Soccer Repeats as Centennial Champions

Men's Soccer Repeats as Centennial Champions

Interview with Tournament MVP Maclyn Willigan

HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team repeated as Centennial Conference Champions on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Franklin & Marshall. The top-seeded Fords (13-3-3) became just the second school in conference history to repeat as conference champions since the tournament's inception in 2001. Haverford will now represent the Centennial Conference at the NCAA Tournament with the conference's automatic qualifier.

To stake claim to the title of best team in the Centennial Conference, the Fords had to avenge their only conference defeat of the previous two seasons and they did just that with two goals in the opening half. Haverford's title was its third in the past five seasons. The team is now tied for third in conference history with those three Centennial titles.

Nick Jannelli opened the scoring for Haverford with his team-leading eighth goal of the season during the 28th minute of play. Jannelli assisted on the Fords' overtime winner on Saturday and gave his team a lead it would not relinquish as he struck a pass from Ben Field right past the Diplomats' keeper. Field was credited his fourth assist of the year to tie him for the team lead in that category.

Max Krieg added to the Haverford lead just over five minutes later when Will Corkery found him waiting on the far post. Krieg's goal was his first of the season, but adds to his impressive postseason resume that includes the game-winning goal against Washington & Lee in last year's NCAA Tournament. Corkery's assist was his second of the season and gives the captain eight points in nine games this year.

Both of the Fords' goals came in the opening half with the team playing against the wind. Haverford still managed to maintain a 6-5 edge in shots during the opening half with the wind in its face. The Fords took more than double the attempts of their Diplomat counterparts in the second half, 14-6, but it was the visitors who found the only goal in the final 45 minutes.

Jeremy Astesano made a pair of saves in the 47th and 54th minute to deny two early chances in the second half. Franklin & Marshall tallied its lone goal of the game during the 66th minute of play when Ugo Okolie buried his third goal of the season to make the championship match a single goal difference.

Despite the one goal difference, Haverford's defense kept its composure and limited Franklin & Marshall to just three shots during the remaining time. The Haverford defense knocked down a shot attempt from Robert Maze in the 69th minute of action. F&M also had a pair of shots from Maze and Jason Tonelli that went wide of the goal in the 84th and 86th minutes.

Haverford's best chance to add onto the lead came in the 76th minute when Krieg saw his bid for his second goal of the game denied by Franklin & Marshall's Dave Reingold for one of his four saves on the afternoon. The rebound off of that shot bounced back to Haverford and was sent over the crossbar following a diving stop.

The Fords finished the contest with a 20-11 advantage in shots and 6-1 edge in corner kicks. Goal scorers Jannelli and Krieg each had three shot attempts in the game, as did Ben Field. Haverford nearly doubled up the Diplomats in shots just one day after outshooting Washington College by a 28-5 margin. Captain Maclyn Willigan was named the Centennial Conference Tournament MVP for his work in the defensive third of the field all weekend.

Men's soccer will now find out its path through the NCAA Tournament on Monday with the selection show that is scheduled to air live on at 1 p.m. Haverford will be making its sixth appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament which opens up next weekend. The Fords have only gone to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments once prior in program history. Those appearances came with the team's first two trips to the national tournament in 1976 and 1977.