Bucs shutout Dolphins to advance to third-consecutive A-Sun semifinal
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 9, 2011) – Redshirt junior David Haba (Germantown, Tenn.) had not scored all season, but netted two goals on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship to push the Bucs past Jacksonville, 2-0, inside Summers-Taylor Stadium.
Haba scored his first less than five minutes in and added the insurance in the 20th minute. Both goals came from the left side of the box, as the redshirt junior was fed crosses from sophomore David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.) on each score.
“It was a great performance from the team,” commented ETSU head coach Scott Calabrese. “There were some great goals, we created great chances and on top of that we had to grind it out at times. There was a lot on the line and I’m very proud of the way the team played.”
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) got back on track, earning his eighth shutout of the season while making two saves. Coulter’s previous clean sheet came in a scoreless draw to Stetson in on Oct. 14.
The victory gets ETSU (10-6-3, 3-4-1 A-Sun) to the 10-win mark for its second-consecutive season and sends the Bucs to their third-straight A-Sun semifinal. Entering as the No. 6-seeded team, ETSU becomes just the second six seed in A-Sun history to advance to the semifinals. No. 6 seeds are now 2-11-1 in the first round of the Championship.
Jacksonville ends its season at 9-8-2, 5-2-1 A-Sun, suffering just its second shutout of the season. The Dolphins only other scoreless game came in a 1-0 loss to Furman on Sept. 18. The loss also marks the first time JU has fallen in the A-Sun's opening round since 2005, when it dropped a 2-1 decision to Florida Atlantic.
After JU’s Darko Karamatic opened up the action with the game’s first shot, Haba and ETSU took over to grab the early advantage.
Junior Frank Doumbe (Silver Spring, Md.) used his speed to bring the ball up the far right side of the field and dished off a pass to Geno. Geno brought the ball to the end line and crossed a chance through the box which sailed just above the head of a leaping Aaron Schoenfeld (Kingsport, Tenn.) and found Haba at the near side of the penalty area. Quick to settle the ball, Haba fired his shot past JU’s Gavin Carlin for his first goal of the season.
In a game filled with drama; three Dolphin corners, four Buccaneer corners and a yellow card issued to Henrik Synnes kept the 577 fans in attendance on the edge of their seats through the next 15 minutes, before Haba struck again.
In nearly identical fashion, a Geno cross found Haba on the near side of the box. This time, the game’s only goal scorer side stepped a JU defender to create an open chance and buried his second goal of the match. Having scored no goals all season on 13 shots, Haba now had two scores on two shots to give the Bucs a decisive 2-0 advantage.
The action continued to heat up, as the competitiveness of the match led to a caution for JU’s Casey Tafuri before the halftime horn. At the break, ETSU still held its two goal lead, outshooting the Dolphins 7-6 and holding even at 5-5 in corners. The Bucs had put five of their seven shots on goal, while all six of JU’s attempts were off frame.
As the second half started, the mist at Summers-Taylor Stadium turned into more of a steady rain. The treacherous field conditions did not slow the pace, as the two sides combined for 17 more shots in the half.
The Bucs had a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the 70th minute, when Schoenfeld sprung free for a one-on-one opportunity off a through ball by junior Theo Yang (Lilburn, Ga.). With the Dolphin defense chasing down Schoenfeld, and just Carlin in front, the senior captain fired a low ball at the net but was denied by one of the JU keeper’s seven saves on the night. Schoenfeld finished with a game-high four shots and three shots on goal.
Tension mounted some more, as Doumbe, Itode Fubara (Ogbema, Nigeria) and JU’s Johnny Foley were all cautioned by referee Dmitar Chavdarov through the second half. Then, as JU continued to trail late, Casey Tufari hit Doumbe with a slide tackle from behind and was sent off with less than two minutes to play.
The Bucs now head for the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship, where they will take on Stetson. The meeting will mark the third-consecutive year in which ETSU has met the Hatters in postseason play, having lost to Stetson 3-2 in the 2009 semifinals before defeating the Hatters 1-0 in last year’s final. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For more information on ETSU men’s soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer links.