By Greg Klein
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — Lucas Terci grounded Oneonta State for the rest of the men’s soccer season.
Terci’s grounder into the right corner of the goal Sunday capped a 4-3 shootout victory for 11th-ranked Montclair State, which played the Red Dragons to a 2-2 double-overtime tie in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament before winning the penalty-kick tiebreaker to advance.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” said O-State coach Iain Byrne said, whose team gave up the tying goal to Brian Cullen with 7 minutes, 55 seconds left in regulation. “It is a particularly tough way for our seniors to end their careers after all their success, but we had 120 minutes to get the win and we didn’t do it.”
Montclair State (18-2-1), which advanced to the round of 16, is the only remaining final four team from a season ago. The Red Hawks and Oneonta fell to Ohio Wesleyan and Calvin, respectively, in the 2011 NCAA D-III semifinals. Defending national champion Ohio Wesleyan and 2011 runner-up Calvin failed to make it out of the first round this season.
“Montclair’s a great team,” Byrne said. “We just couldn’t hold them off.”
Two-time defending SUNY Athletic Conference champion O-State (14-5-2) scored on its first shot as Alex Shkreli one-touched a throughball from Eric Fortier for a 1-0 lead 15:47 into the match.
Shkreli scored less than two minutes after O-State defender Dan Scott — the SUNYAC Player of the Year — pulled down Almir Batista on a Montclair State scoring opportunity inside the box. Scott wasn’t whistled for a foul, though, which seemed to rattle the Red Hawks.
“We’re young and we had some lapses, I guess,” said Montclair coach Todd Tumelty, whose team gave up the go-ahead goal and drew three yellow cards within a 17-minute span after the no-call. “It’s soccer; these things happen.”
Montclair State scored during that same timeframe, though, as Batista tied it on a rebound-goal in the 28th minute.
O-State goalie Daniel DeBottis came out to stop a shot by Cullen and deflected the ball to an oncoming Batista, whose header was saved by a defender. The ball bounced right back to Batista, though, as he scored his 13th goal of the season.
The Red Dragons went back in front with 22 minutes to go in regulation, when freshman Jake Sutherland headed in a cross from Brian Bartichek shortly after entering the game.
“I think if it would have ended 2-1, Montclair would have been really upset with themselves,” Byrne said of a Red Hawks team that outshot O-State, 24-10, including a 20-6 advantage in regulation. “It evened out in the second half, but in the first half you have to say they were on top of us. They just couldn’t get the bounces.”
Cullen capitalized on Dan Mendoza’s long, high cross from the right corner for the late equalizer. The ball sailed past the goal and missed several Red Hawks until Cullen one-timed it in, from the left side to the far post.
“One-hundred percent, I give the credit to my defense,” said Montclair State goalie Anthony Rogic, who made all three of his saves after regulation. “We were down, but we never quit out there. If you keep playing, you can make something happen.”
DeBottis secured the tie by diving to save a last-second header by Batista in the second 10-minute overtime period. Oneonta, which went first in the shootout, then missed its first two penalty kicks.
Rogic dived to his right to knock away Addison Straub’s leadoff attempt and, after teammate Dan Mendoza converted the Red Hawks’ opener, watched Eric Fortier’s high shot bounce off the crossbar.
“He’s just a guy with tremendous confidence,” Tumelty said of Rogic. “He understands how penalty kicks work very well. It is a huge advantage for us.”
Despite a miss by Batista on the second Montclair State attempt, the Red Hawks never trailed in the shootout. Tying goals by Oneonta’s Scott Taglione, Daniel Josepher and Ian Tenzer were one-upped by Rogic, Cullen and Terci, respectively, as Montclair State went 4-for-5 in the shootout to advance.