BOSTON, Mass. – It took 110 minutes of scoreless play and 10 shootout rounds to decide the Patriot League Semifinals, but the fourth-seeded Navy men’s soccer team (6-4-9) outlasted No. 2 seed Boston University (6-5-7) on Tuesday night at Nickerson Field, earning their first trip to the Patriot League finals since 2013 and their fifth overall appearance in the league’s championship game.

Ending in a 0-0 draw after both the 90-minute regulation time and the 20-minute overtime, the Midshipmen used nine made penalty kicks to the Terriers’ eight makes in the shootout to advance to the PL Championship.

With No. 6 seed American upsetting top-seeded Army via a 3-1 overtime win, Tuesday’s results also mean that Navy will host the league’s championship match on Saturday, Nov. 12. The Mids and Eagles are set for a 7 p.m. showdown at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility to determine the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“I am very proud of our players,” said head coach Tim O’Donohue. “This is a very resilient group and they once again showed that tonight. We created some very good chances in the first half and held up well defensively for the full 110 minutes, giving us the chance to advance in the shootout. I know we’re all looking forward to getting back home and playing for the league championship in front of our home fans on Saturday under the lights.”

Boston nearly had a goal in the seventh minute to open the evening, but a cross into the six-yard box just missed the foot of its intended target, while junior midfielder Jason Aoyama finished a Navy rush two minutes later with a hard cross that Terriers goalkeeper Francesco Montali grabbed. A 14th-minute shot from Gianluca Arlotti almost found the net if not blocked out of bounds by junior midfielder Cristian Coelho, leading to one of Boston’s eight first-half corner kicks.

Navy’s next chance came at 24′ when sophomore forward Noah Ward found junior midfielder David Jackson at the 18-yard line and Jackson kicked a liner over the cage, while Aoyama’s 26th-minute shot went high from just outside the left corner of the goal box.

Colin Innes had his shot miss wide by just a foot in the 30th minute as it sliced past the left post, while sophomore goalkeeper Pierce Holbrook stopped another Innes shot at 34′. The Mids put together back-to-back shots on goal in the 38th minute, but both Aoyama’s initial shot and sophomore defender Charlie Kriel’s rebound attempt were denied by Montali, while another chance for Innes at the other end went just above the crossbar in the 41st minute.

Brian Hernandez bicycle-kicked a shot wide left in the 53th minute to open the second half, while Aoyama found an opportunity on the other side at 60′ but his shot was off the mark after the ball trickled back to him about 23 yards out.

As the contest wore on, Andrew Rent sailed a shot in space well over the net at 76′ for BU, and freshman forward A.J. Schuetz put a shot high off a corner-kick clearance in the 83rd minute in Navy’s favor. After a cross from sophomore midfielder Connor Walcott in the 88th minute did not connect with any Navy attackers in the box, a shot from junior forward Baba Kallie missed to the right with one second left in regulation.

In the first half of overtime, Quinn Matulis shot a ball high off the Terriers’ 13th corner kick of the night at 94′, while Navy was called for offsides in the 100th minute.\

The second half of overtime had a Schuetz shot blocked out in the 102nd minute, as the ensuing Navy corner kick led to another corner that Montali snagged out of the air, while Arlotti had a shot stonewalled by Holbrook at 104′ and Holbrook intercepted an Innes through-ball at 105′ in the final chances of overtime.

Moving on to the penalty-kick shootout, Jackson buried the first attempt of the shootout and Matulis’ attempt hit the left post and out to follow. The next two rounds saw both sides score, while Montali saved Walcott’s kick and Kevin Torres found the back of the net in the fourth round, as the fifth through ninth rounds resulted in scores for each team. Coming down to the 10th round, freshman defender Jalen Grant found the right side to beat Montali and Rent put his shot over the crossbar, sending the Midshipmen to the Patriot League Championship.

Both Holbrook and Montali closed the night with two saves apiece, while Boston held a 13-8 edge in shots and a 13-5 corner kick advantage.

Tuesday’s result marks the first time in program history that Navy has not lost to BU at Nickerson Field. It is also the first time that Navy was on the advancing side of a Patriot League Tournament shootout.

Saturday’s championship game will be only the second time in program history where Navy gets to play for the Patriot League title on its home field, matching the 2013 squad that went on to claim the league crown.

The 2022 Patriot League Championship game is set to be the third postseason meeting all-time between American and Navy.


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