Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brian Abernathy's big season with St. Lawrence continues

Saratoga Catholic graduate Brian Abernathy had three big saves in a close fought victory as the St. Lawrence University men beat Western New England University 3-2, advancing into the round of 16 in the 2011 NCAA Division III men's soccer championship.

“It was tough,” Abernathy said. “We were on a smaller field and (Western) New England has a very athletic team and they play very direct.”

The goal by WNE in the 16th minute broke a 1370:20 scoreless streak for the Saints.

Junior Midfielder Sam DeMello put the Saints in front 4:12 into the second half as Golden Bear goaltender Domenick Villani couldn't control the ball in a one on one leaping contest with Saint back Brain Laird. The ball bounced off Villani's hands and to DeMello, who one-timed a shot from 12 yards out to make it a 2-1 game. Western New England came back to tie it, scoring off a restart with 5:16 to go in regulation.

The Saints came up with the game winner following a throw in deep in the WNE end. Andrew Bednarsky took the ball after Brian Gilloran's throw and cut back across traffic. DeMello moved to the middle and took the ball on the fly, burying the ball inside the far post for the game winner.

"I can't say enough about what Sam DeMello has meant to this team," said Saint coach Bob Durocher. "With the guys who have been injured, he has taken the team on his back and they have rallied around him."

St. Lawrence, playing with the wind in the first half, had several good runs, but had trouble keeping the ball from going long. The Saints finally cashed in and tied the game with 3:55 left in the first half following a throw-in deep in the Golden Bear's end. Shaka Pilgrim controlled Yanick Brown's throw and sent the ball to the top of the penalty area. Freshman Mark Provost then hit a shot from about 22 yards out which cleared WNE goalie Domenick Villani's leap and curled under the crossbar for Provost's second goal of the year.

"We knew this was going to be tough on the road. We had to dig deep, and we got excellent support from the bench all weekend. We got three goals off the bench this weekend and that is the kind of thing you need at this time of the year," said Durocher. "This is the kind of game that brings you together as a team and that's what you need at this time of the isn't going to get any easier from here.

Western New England, which went into the game ranked 19th nationally outshot the Saints 14-11 and had seven corner kicks to one for the Saints. Abernethy made three saves while Villano had one for the Golden Bears.


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