WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Josh Cintas (San Diego, Calif.) recorded two goals and sophomore goal keeper Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas) recorded, a career high, nine saves as No. 3 seeded Holy Cross men's soccer team defeated No. 6 seeded Colgate, 3-0, at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium on Tuesday night in Patriot League quarterfinal action. With the win, the Crusaders advance their record to 9-8-1 overall, while the Raiders finish their season at 4-14-2. The Crusaders advance to the Patriot League semifinals in Annapolis, Md. on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. against No. 2 seeded Army. Holy Cross defeated Army 2-1 on Oct. 30 earlier this season. No. 1 seeded Navy will take on No. 4 seeded Bucknell in the other semifinal at 4:00 p.m. This is the Crusaders' first semifinal appearance since 2008 and they look to win their first Patriot League title since 2002. Their nine wins on the year also marks their most since the 2008 season.
The first good scoring chance for the Crusaders came in the fifth minute as senior captain Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.) played a ball to senior Tommy Uttaro (Staten Island, N.Y.) just to the right of the net but his cross was cleared out by a Colgate defender. The Raiders earned the first corner of the game in the ninth minute but the attempt was punched out by Wright. Colgate followed that up with the first shot on net by either team when Frankie Bergonzi's shot was stopped by Wright in the 15th minute. Holy Cross' first shot on goal came on a deep free kick from Sanders in the 21st minute.
The first true scoring opportunity of the game came in the 25th minute when a cross from senior Max Pettinelli (Scituate, Mass) was headed on a magnificent effort by Cintas, but the stop was made by Ricky Brown.
In the 34th minute the Crusaders broke the scoreless tie with a goal by junior Will Bowers (Raleigh, N.C.) who had been substituted into the game just 25 seconds earlier. Sanders started the offensive chance with a corner from the keeper's right which was taken down by freshman Ty Goncalves (Norwood, Mass.) and played to Bowers who buried the ball in the bottom left corner of the net from eight yards out.
The Raiders came out with a flurry of opportunities just after half time. In the 49th minute Ethan Kutler took a dangerous free kick from just outside the box to the left of the Holy Cross net but it was played out by the Crusaders' defense. Colgate regained possession and had two tries for shots but both were blocked by Crusader defenders. The Raiders threatened again in the 56th minute with a shot by Nick Arpey which trickled just wide of the net.
In the 63rd minute the Crusaders threatened as a corner from Sanders was headed on net by sophomore Luke Melody (Mansfield, Conn.) but it fell into the hands of the keeper Brown. The two teams went back and forth until the 71st minute when Colgate had its best scoring chance of the game as Kutler took a shot from the top of the box and Wright dove to his left just barely getting his hand on the ball which ricocheted off the inside of the post and bounced in front of the Crusaders net before being cleared out by the Holy Cross defense.
After the near goal by Colgate and ensuing corner, Holy Cross countered with a strong offensive attack. The ball was worked up to Sanders who played a through ball with the outside of his foot to Cintas that freed him up one on one with the keeper. Cintas buried the opportunity to give the Crusaders at 2-0 lead in the 73rd.
Wright made three tremendous stops in the waning minutes of the game as the Raiders attempted to rally. The Crusaders put the game out of reach in the 88th minute when a long ball was played up to Cintas who realized the keeper for Colgate was out of the net. Cintas alertly took a shot from just over midfield that rolled into the net for his second goal of the game and gave Holy Cross its third and final goal. Matt Villano (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and Pettinelli assisted on the goal.
"We carried out our game plan the way we discussed it," said head coach Marco Koolman after the win, "Credit to the boys, they competed they battled and they got after it and showed true character as a team."
Wright recorded nine saves, a career high, including six in the second half on route to his third shutout of the season and increased his record to 9-6-1 on the year. Brown recorded four saves for Colgate. Cintas led the offense with two goals and Sanders chipped in with two assists. Colgate outshot Holy Cross 17-10 and had nine shots on net to Holy Cross' seven. Colgate had five corner kicks and Holy Cross had three.
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