Courtesy of Catholic Athletic Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Catholic University men's soccer team saw its 2019 season end Saturday evening in a 2-1 loss to Connecticut College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Carlini Field.
The No. 21 Cardinals (18-3-1) struck first in the 5th minute thanks to a goal from sophomore forward Ben Alexander, but the No. 18 Camels equalized at the end of the first half and scored the lone goal in the second half to advance to the second round.
Catholic came up just short in a tightly-contested match in which the Cardinals outshot Connecticut College 12-11.
The Cards, playing as the away team in front of a home crowd, took an early lead in a frantic first half thanks to their leading goalscorer Alexander. In the fifth minute, junior midfielder Philip Meszaros played a ball into the box that Alexander struck on the volley for an impressive first goal of the match.
The Camels battled and slowed the momentum as the first half continued, and then equalized in the 39th minute. Ben Ludwick took a long pass from the right wing and then fired a left-footed shot off the post into the back of the net past goalkeeper Jack Long.
The two sides went into the half tied 1-1.
Soon after the second half started, Connecticut College midfielder Matt Butera broke the deadlock with a beautiful free kick goal in the 51st minute.
The Cardinals fought for an equalizer in the second half, playing from behind for just one of a few times this season. Alexander held up play well, receiving passes from his backline to establish possession. Sophomore midfielder Paul Egan made runs in behind the defense to threaten on goal.
Catholic could not break through the Camels' backline in the end and came up short in the 2-1 defeat in front of a supportive crowd at Carlini Field, which saw its first NCAA contest on a chilly Saturday evening.
The loss ends the best season in program history under head coach Travis Beauchamp, as the Cardinals went undefeated through Landmark play to make it to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time overall.
Long made four saves for the Cardinals in the match.
Saturday's match marked the final match in a Catholic uniform for seniors Mike Narzikul, Mitch Ford, Tim Figueroa, Andrew Laurenzano, Ryan Kennedy, and Bradley Pierro.
The Camels advance to take on No. 3 Johns Hopkins, who took care of John Jay in a 5-0 win for the first game of the day at Carlini Field. Connecticut and Johns Hopkins will play at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Carlini Field.