The Gators of Pine Manor College captured the 2017 ACAA Inaugural Conference Championship by winning in a thrilling double OT game against the Kangaroos of SUNY Canton 4-3.
The Gators were in control throughout the better portion of the first half. PMC fired off 9 shots and were able to keep the ball deep in their offensive end. Finally, after the Gators would find pay dirt in the 31st minute. Jose Corrales fired a shot that found the back of the net to give PMC a 1-0 lead. That concluded the scoring for the first half of play. Pine Manor led 1-0 going into halftime.
Nine minutes into the second half, Pine Manor would again find the back of the net. This time off of a free kick. A costly SUNY Canton foul allowed the Gators to regroup and organize. Diego Herrara chipped the ball in the air. Esteban Avila out jumped everyone and put his header past Canton's keeper Mouhammed Thiam. Avila's goal increased the Gator lead to 2-0.
SUNY Canton would not go down quietly. Kyle Smith lined up a penalty kick. Smith's shot nailed the left post and the ball bounced to Eillis Sanchez. Sanchez put the rebound into the net for Canton's first goal. Canton's Sanchez would strike again just moments later. Finding wide open space and seeing the Pine Manor Keeper coming out, He lofted the ball in the air over the head of Angel Pena for Canton's second goal. Back to back goals by Sanchez tied the game at 2-2.
The back and forth physical play continued. These two evenly matched teams would not give up. This time it was Pine Manor's turn. In the 71st minute, Jose Corrales lined up a shot from 25 yards that screamed past everyone and went in the goal to give PMC a 3-2 advantage.
Things looked bleak for Canton. But just like in any sport, a team must play until the final whistle is blown. With 18 seconds left and Pine Manor ahead 3-2, Canton's Demba Ba took a shot and it looked to be a save. The Pine Manor Keeper was too deep into goal and the ball crossed the goal line to nullify the save. Ba's goal tied the game at 3-3 and we were heading to overtime.
After 10 minutes of OT and the score still knotted at 3-3, it took a second OT to decide the 2017 ACAA Championship. In the 112th minute, Diego Herrara took a free kick and put the ball high in the air. The Gator's Noah Nixon was in the right place at the right time. Nixon drilled a header that would be the game winner and give Pine Manor a 4-3 win and also claim the first ACAA Men's Soccer Conference Championship.
SUNY Canton – Demba Ba
SUNY Canton – Mouhammed Thiam
SUNY Canton – Kyle Smith
SUNY Canton – Ellis Sanchez
Finlandia – Edward Caballero
Finlandia – Dare Nayomi
Pine Manor – Noah Nixon – Tournament MVP
Pine Manor – Jose Corrales
Pine Manor – Diego Harrera
Pine Manor – Raudel Gomez
Valley Forge – Brandon Nyekan