Courtesy of Drew Athletic Communications
MADISON, N.J.– The 10th-ranked Drew University men's soccer team earned its 15th consecutive win on Tuesday night. And this one was the most important so far. The top-seeded Rangers (18-0-1) notched a 4-0 victory over fourth-seeded Susquehanna (6-10-2) in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament at a packed Ranger Stadium. With the victory, Drew moved into its first Landmark Championship Game since 2007.
It was Drew's first home playoff game in six years, and the Rangers made sure that there would be another on Saturday. Drew scored twice in each half to snap its seven-game losing streak in Landmark semifinals (the Rangers tied with Merchant Marine in 2014, but lost on penalty kicks).
"I thought our team played very, very well; we finished all our chances," Head Coach Lenny Armuth said. "This has been our goal, and now we're going to the finals, so we're pumped up."
After an evenly-played start, the Rangers broke through in the 32nd minute. Matt Asante (Staten Island, N.Y.), who had just checked into the game, took a feed from Nate Race (Bridgewater, N.J.) and chipped one over the goalkeeper and off the crossbar. Race nearly got a goal of his own in the 35th minute, but it was played off the line on a brilliant play by the Susquehanna defense. Drew was able to make it 2-0 before halftime, though, as Marlon Rodriguez (Belleville, N.J.) knocked in his own rebound in the 41st minute.
In the 57th minute, the Rangers opened up a three-goal cushion on a goal by Alexi Velazquez (Kearny, N.J.). Eduardo Martinez (McLean, Va.) came streaking up the right side and passed to Asante, who then flicked to an open Velazquez along the ground, and he tapped it home from the left corner. Drew added another one in the 80th minute when Anthony McMyne (Succasunna, N.J.) headed in a perfectly-placed corner kick from Benjamin Audi (Paramus, N.J.).
That was more than enough offense for the Rangers' back line, which recorded its 10th shutout of the year. Goalkeeper Jason Adamo (Roxbury, N.J.) (18-0-1) made seven saves in the victory. Susquehanna's Matt Ellingworth, meanwhile, tallied eight saves in relief of Casey Hoover (3-1-0), who stopped two Drew shots in the first half.
Drew will host second-seeded Elizabethtown (11-6-1), which knocked off Catholic on penalty kicks in the other semifinal, at 2 p.m. on Saturday with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line. The Rangers notched a 6-0 victory over the Blue Jays when the squads met on Sept. 23.