BOCA RATON, Fla. - Lynn University's men's soccer team used two first-half goals to set the tone and then defended like crazy in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory over Young Harris and advance to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals in Kansas City, Mo. This will be the eighth NCAA DII national semifinals appearance for the Fighting Knights while the Mountain Lions are eliminated from the national quarterfinals for the second time by Lynn.
Lynn will square-off against Rockhurst on Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. EST at the Children's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo., with the winner battling the winner of Charleston (W. Va.) and Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday, Dec. 2., at 5 p.m. EST.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Score: Lynn 2, Young Harris 1
Records: Lynn (14-3-2), Young Harris (14-4-2)
Location: Bobby Campbell Stadium | Boca Raton, Fla.
All-time history: Lynn leads 2-0 all-time (last met Nov. 23, 2014)
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Tomer Bitton snapped a scoreless tie in the 14th minute of play when Sebastian Radakovics found him on a diagonal run inside the right side of the box. Bitton spun around his defender and laced a shot to the right side netting to put Lynn ahead 1-0.
- The Fighting Knights grabbed a 2-0 lead behind a stellar hustle performance from Gustavo Bergman. Max Herbert set up the second score with a long ball which split the Mountain Lions defense. Bergman and YHC keeper Alex Iglesias raced for the ball but Bergman used the tip of his outstretched cleat to tap the ball past Iglesias for the eventual game-winner.
- Young Harris came out flying to start the second half, immediately putting Lynn on its heels. The Mountain Lions earned three corner kicks but could only muster one shot through the first 20 minutes.
- Mikie Rowe caught the Lynn defense napping in the 81st minute after collecting a pass from Carlos Gomez. Gomez spun around his defender on the back line to keep the play alive before finding Rowe inside the six-yard box. Rowe flipped his shot past Alexander Roth to cut the deficit in half.
- Lynn had a pair of chances to put the match away but Iglesias saved a one-v-one attempt with Bitton and then the YHC defense turned away an open net attempt again by Lynn's junior forward.
- "Wow it was a real nail-biter at the end," said head coach John Rootes. "This was a tale of two halves where we played as well as we could in the first half, dominating possession and moving the ball around with Young Harris struggling with the heat. We scored two goals and I think we got into halftime leading 2-0 and we started the second half playing too deep. Young Harris is a fantastic team, the Southeast Region Champions , and by playing so deep and giving them a lot of space, they were allowed to play and keep possession for much of the second half and get a goal in there late. But You got to hand it to our guys for buckling down and defending well late in the second half and not conceding the second goal.
STATS OF THE GAME:
- Lynn and Young Harris tallied eight shots apiece while YHC had a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
- Roth earned one save and Iglesias turned away three shots.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- Lynn's unbeaten streak moves to six (5-0-1).
- This is the fourth NCAA DII National Semifinals appearance under John Rootes and eighth NCAA DII National Semifinals appearance for Lynn University.
- This will be the 15th national semifinals appearance overall (NCAA & NAIA) for the Lynn men's soccer program.
- Lynn last reached national semifinals by beating Young Harris 4-1 in 2014, en route to the national title.
- Lynn has not played Rockhurst as an NCAA institution, last meeting the Hawks in the NAIA National Quarterfinals in 1994 and winning 3-2. The first meeting between the two schools was in the NAIA National Semifinals where the Blue and White emerged victorious 2-1.
Lynn will face Rockhurst in the national semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. EST. Fans can watch the action live at LynnFightingKnights.com.