Blue Jays Slip Past Gophers, Clinch No. 1 Seed

Blue Jays Slip Past Gophers, Clinch No. 1 Seed

TOWSON, Md. — Goucher put forth the effort against Elizabethtown tonight one would expect out of a team that needs to pass at least four other teams in the Landmark Conference standings by the end of the regular season in order to earn a spot in the conference's postseason tournament.

The Blue Jays didn't back down and didn't lose their composure. They countered with the skill and ability that you would presume the team that is No. 18 in the Division III national rankings would possess.

What this head-to-head encounter produced was a game that seemed headed for overtime as the two teams were locked in a 1-1 tie after 80 minutes. But it never made it to extra time. Instead, Elizabethtown was awarded a corner kick which the Blue Jays turned into a goal by Martin Fevre at 80:41 that provided them with a 2-1 triumph.

With the victory, the Blue Jays (14-1-1, 6-0 Landmark) clinched the top seed for the conference playoffs.

A goal that Jack Rudy scored following a corner kick staked Elizabethtown to a 1-0 lead at 39:05. But just 22 seconds into the second half, Ryan Belluch (Reading, Pa./Muhlenberg) answered, tying the score up at 1-1 when he scored his first goal of the season.

Andrew Marcantonio (Philadelphia, Pa./Chestnut Hill Academy) was awarded an assist on Belluch's goal for his pass that led to the score.

Assists on Fevre's game-winning goal at 80:41 went to Aaron Rathsam, who handled the corner kick, and Sam Feehrer, who headed the ball that Fevre managed to finish.

Both starting goalkeepers went the distance: for Goucher, Daniel Hendry (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg) finished with 10 saves; for Elizabethtown, Rodrigo Barrera stopped eight shots.

"I thought our guys played great, that it might have been our best effort all year," said head coach Bryan Laut of his Gophers (5-9-1, 2-4 Landmark Conference). "Soccer, probably more than just about any other sport I can think of, doesn't always reward the team that gives its best shot and comes up just a little short. Still, I'm very proud of my guys.

"We now have to put this one behind us, set our sights on beating Juniata this Saturday and then Susquehanna the following Saturday. We're not out of it until we are officially elminated, and we haven't reached that point yet."

The Gophers take on the Eagles at 1 p.m. Saturday on Beldon Field.