WALTHAM, Mass.(NEWS10) – Senior right back Paul Letine buried a penalty kick in overtime to lift the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Stevens Institute of Technology in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Brandeis University. With the win, the Engineers improve to 12-4-3 and advance to face the host Judges on Sunday (5pm). The Ducks conclude their season at 15-4-2.
All of the action was packed into the second half and overtime. In the 54th minute, Stevens was caught on the counter-attack as senior midfielder Matt Carberry (Auburn, NY) threaded a beautiful ball in to classmate forward Nathaniel Gunderson (Olympia, WA). Gunderson took a touch to beat his defender, saw the keeper was off his line near the 18, and finished to put the Engineers up 1-0.
Stevens roared back over the next half hour, having two goals off set pieces called back and falling victim to an excellent save by RPI’s sophomore netminder Ryan Nealon (Somers, NY). The Ducks persevered and broke through in the 89th minute. After winning the ball in their defensive third, Stevens began a quick counter up the right flank. Senior forward Carson Pryor (St. Louis, MO) found classmate Jeff Althoff making a fantastic diagonal run behind the defense. Althoff took a touch and launched a right-footed blast into the netting to draw the Ducks even, 1-1.
It would take an overtime period to prove the balance of this match. Just over seven minutes into the first overtime, Gunderson was played in behind his defender but was tripped up right around the box from behind. After a brief consultation with his line judge, the referee awarded RPI a penalty kick. Senior defender Paul Lentine (Penfield, NY) stepped to the spot and drilled his shot past the diving keeper to send his team on to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
RPI will take on Brandeis tomorrow at 5pm on Gordon Field.