Friday was a good news-bad news kind of day for the Hartwick College men’s soccer team.
In that order.
Hours after the Hawks’ John Scott won Coach of the Year honors from the Mid-American Conference, Hartwick’s season ended with a 1-0 loss to Western Michigan in a MAC Tournament semifinal at Cub Cadet Field in Akron, Ohio.
Connor Furgason scored on a header with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining for the second-seeded Broncos (9-8-1), who advanced to Sunday’s championship game against top-seeded host Akron (15-3-1). The Zips reached the final with a 3-0 defeat of fourth-seeded West Virginia (7-7-5) in Friday’s second semifinal.
Sunday’s winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Sam Bell set up the decisive goal for Western Michigan by floating a corner kick into the Hartwick box. Furgason then connected for a header that beat Hartwick goalie Mateo Munarriz, who was screened by a Western Michigan player.
“The game was a tight affair and at halftime, 1-1 would have been fair enough,” Scott said. “Both teams were defending well through the second half and although we had more of the ball, only a few fleeting chances were created. The longer it went, it had the feel of overtime until the late goal settled the game.”
The Hawks (5-9-4) went on the attack for the final eight-plus minutes and earned a corner kick with 4:10 remaining. Chris Walter’s serve found the head of Ross MacKinnon, but his shot ended up inches wide of the far post.
Walter also crossed a 35-yard free kick into the WMU penalty area with 2:45 left, but Broncos goalie Chase Rau came up with the save. Dean Fowler took Hartwick’s final shot from long range with 15 seconds to go, but it sailed high.
Hartwick, which made its first playoff appearance since 2009, finished with a 10-8 edge in shots. Western Michigan had a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.