BABSON PARK, MA- Freshman Max Swanson (Lexington, MA/Lexington) scored with eight seconds left in the second overtime period, sending the second-seeded Wheaton College men's soccer team past number-six Clark University, 3-2 on Saturday in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal contest at Babson College's Hartwell-Rogers Field.
Now 18-3-1, the Lyons, who are tied for 18th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll and sit third in the New England rankings, will take on top-seeded Babson tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Wheaton looks to capture its eighth NEWMAC Tournament crown, including its fourth in the last five years, while matching up with the defending-champion Beavers, who are seventh in the region. Babson's last loss to a NEWMAC team was in the 2007 title game against Wheaton, as the Lyons are 4-2 all time against the Beavers in the league tournament, including 3-0 in championship contests. Clark slipped to 9-7-2, as each of its losses has been by one goal. The Lyons eliminated the Cougars for the third straight season.
Swanson's winner, his second in four games, came off a helper from sophomore Chris Thomas (Cumberland, ME/Phillips Academy), as the striker headed a shot from the right side into the far left corner. Wheaton took 27 of the last 30 shots, finishing with advantages of 33-10 in shots and 9-2 in corner kicks. Junior back David Winrow (South Weymouth, MA/Weymouth) and freshman Cecil Jeffrey (Framingham, MA/Rivers School) also scored, while junior keeper Cole Davidson (Needham, MA/Salisbury School) made one save. Seven of Wheaton's eight games with NEWMAC foes have been decided by one goal.
Senior Preben Gietz (Waterloo, Belgium/Saint John's International School) and junior Tim Doenmez (Dublin, NH/Dublin School) scored for Clark, while freshman Ryan King (Brimfield, MA/Tantasqua Regional) made 10 saves.
The Lyons took all seven shots in the overtime periods, including Swanson being stopped by King with 25 seconds to go in the first session. King made another save with 36 seconds remaining in the second overtime stanza, but Swanson struck just 28 ticks later.
Wheaton took advantage of a Clark red card in the 50th minute by netting the go-ahead marker at 56:54, as freshman back David Turina's (North Yarmouth, ME/Northfield Mount Hermon School) corner-kick pass set up Winrow's shot from 25 yards away. The Lyons took 14 straight shots at one point, but the next Cougar attempt was by Doenmez, who knotted the score at 63:44. Jeffrey's second late go-ahead goal in as many postseason contests this fall put the Lyons up at 80:26, but Gietz's header from the top of the box off a teammate's serve from midfield tied the game 42 seconds later.
The Blue and White nearly broke on the board early in the contest but was denied by a Clark defensive stand. Off a corner kick, Swanson headed a shot toward goal in the seventh minute, but a Cougar field player recorded a team save, and Thomas' attempt shortly thereafter was denied by King. Clark later narrowly missed taking a first-half lead, as freshman Gianluca Ranallo (Scarsdale, NY/Scarsdale) hit the post in the 24th minute before a teammate's follow-up try went wide. Wheaton held slim edges of 9-7 in shots and 4-2 in corner kicks during the opening stanza.