KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov 2, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's soccer team defeated visiting Farmingdale State, 3-2, on Wednesday in the Skyline Conference Championship Semifinals. The victory improves the Mariners' record to 12-4-2 and advances the squad on to the Skyline Finals this Saturday, Nov. 5. In defeat, the Rams end their season with a 10-8 record.
Senior Gavin Yingling (Salisbury, Md.) scored twice for the Mariners in the opening 15-plus minutes. The first goal of the game came exactly 11 minutes in off of a double-assist. Junior Hannes Rogers (Weinheim, Germany) passed the ball down to classmate Jon Tarbox (Gettysburg, Pa.), who chipped the ball into the middle towards the net, over the outstretched goalkeeper. The ball bounced off the crossbar and landed right at Yingling's feet, and the senior buried the ball into the open net.
The second marker came in the 16th minute off an excellent solo effort. Yingling took the ball down the far side, cut around a defender into the middle, just above the 18-yard box, and rifled a shot into the upper right 90 of the net for his second of the game and 19th of the season.
The score remained 2-0 into the halftime break, with USMMA outshooting Farmingdale, 12-2, over the first 45 minutes. The Rams' sophomore keeper Lucas Mallia was forced to make five saves in the first half, while Merchant Marine's senior Cory Maier (Hampton, Va.) only faced one FSC shot on goal and turned it away.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Farmingdale State got on the board on a fluke play down low, when sophomore Richard Mastrangelo III's shot hit off a Mariner defender and then rolled down his leg into the net to make the score 2-1 in the 56th minute.
USMMA responded in the 72nd minute, when Rogers found the back of the net on a beautiful shot from just inside the 18-yard box. He took a pass from Tarbox in the middle, dribbled past a defender and placed his blast perfectly out of the reach of Mallia to give the Mariners an insurance marker that turned into the game-winner.
Things got interesting late in the game, when FSC sophomore Christian Campos took the ball on the near side just outside of the 18-yard box and sent a shot high that looked like it surprised Maier and found the upper left 90 in the net to bring the score to 3-2 in the 87th minute.
The Mariners were able to hold on for the victory however, despite a Farmingdale shot down low on the near side with seconds on the clock that could have tied the game, but it was blocked out of harm's way.
Mallia finished the game with nine saves, while Maier's first-half save was the only one he had in the contest. The final tally of shots favored Merchant Marine, 24-6.
"Coach Fitzgerald, Coach Cochrane and I are pleased with our effort today," commented 27th-year head coach Michael Smolens. "After a 10-day break, the guys came back refreshed and strong and put a lot of pressure on Farmingdale. We created a number of opportunities and although we would have liked to have finished more of them off, we are happy with the result. We need to keep our focus and be ready for another challenge on Saturday."
Up next, the Mariners will host the winner of the other Skyline Semifinal match tonight which features #6 Sage at #2 Mount St. Mary in the 2016 Skyline Championship Game this Saturday, Nov. 5 at 12-noon. The USMMA Sports Network's John Kelly Jr. will be on the call for the Finals on Saturday with the live video feed accessible at this link. Live stats for the game will also be available by clicking here.
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