St. Francis wins first NEC title in 15 years

St. Francis' men's soccer team won its first NEC title in 15 years on Sunday. Photo by Mike Orazzi.

St. Francis’ men’s soccer team won its first NEC title in 15 years on Sunday. Photo by Mike Orazzi.

The St. Francis Terriers have leaned heavily on junior forward Kevin Correa all season so it was only natural that he was huge in their 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Bryant University in Connecticut on Sunday to win their first Northeast Conference title in 15 years.

The Terriers trailed 1-0 heading into the second half when they were awarded a free kick during the 46th minute. They set up like defenseman Andy Cormack was going to kick the ball, but instead he faked it and Correa put it in the top right corner to tie the game at 1-1. Bryant quickly answered with a goal just one minute later by Lucas Guerriero and once again they were forced to fight their way back.

During the 69th minute, St. Francis was awarded another free kick and once again Correa stepped up. This time there were no tricks just a perfectly placed shot that beat the goalkeeper on the left side to tie it at 2-2.

The two sides fought hard in overtime and during the sixth minute the Terriers were once again rewarded a free kick. This time Cormack took it and blasted it past Bryant keeper Chris Knaub for the win.

“(At halftime), I said to the guys, ‘Don’t worry, we get that next goal and we’re gonna win this game,’” Terrier coach Tom Giovatto told Michael Randazzo of “We knew they’d played a tough semi-final game, they’d played double overtime, they’d played penalties, they’d played late at night. We knew they were going to have tired legs. We knew we had to go at them.”

The NEC title is the first by the Terriers since 1998 and the fifth in the school’s history. As a result of the win, four Terriers were named to the All-Tournament Team including Correa, Cormack, goalkeeper Jack Binks and forward Gabriel Bagot.

The win also qualifies them for the NCAA tournament which will take on Penn State at Penn State on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 p.m.

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