IRVINE, Calif. – No. 4 Georgia Tech rambled in to the Division I semifinals with a spirited 7-5 win over No. 5 Brigham Young on Tuesday at the MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour hosted by UC Irvine.
The Yellow Jackets held off a late surge by the relentless Cougars with their trademark defense and timely scoring. The victory propels Tech into Thursday’s final four meeting with top-seeded Chapman, setting up a clash of unbeaten programs.
“Our defense has been playing lights out for two games in a row now,” said a proud Georgia Tech coach Ken Lovic. “We’ve been sort of on the outside looking in. To really step up and show we can play with the big boys is very satisfying right now.”
The Jackets stung twice in the first quarter on goals by Sam Ford and Holland Frost to take a 2-0 lead before both teams traded scores in the final :36 seconds of the opening period. Tech scored another in the first minute of the second quarter and BYU matched it in the closing seconds just before half as Tech led it, 4-2, at the break.
Sensing possibly the end of its season down three goals in the fourth quarter, BYU rallied down the stretch. Back to back goals by freshman Winston Farley drew the Cougars within one at 6-5 with just over three minutes to play.
Unfazed in the wake of mounting BYU momentum, Frost turned it around in a matter of seconds by winning the ensuing faceoff, racing in to the BYU crease and dishing off to Christopher O’Brien for the quick-flick goal that put the win on ice.
O’Brien scored twice and junior attackman Brian Connolly had three goals to lead Georgia Tech. Farley and Calvin Wiley each netted two goals for BYU.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team, they do a great job of really settling our emotions and letting us re-gather ourselves after their big push,” Connolly said, crediting Frost for his consistent performance in the clutch.
“Hats off to Georgia Tech. I thought they played a great game,” reflected a gracious BYU coach Matt Schneck while admitting his Cougars were not at their best. “They played to their strength, which is their defense. They did a heck of a job. I give them a ton of credit, and to continue their undefeated season, which is fantastic for them.”
Chapman and Georgia Tech finished the regular season ranked 1-2 in the weekly MCLA coach’s rankings and now face off Thursday on the Panthers home field. Lovic, who also serves as President of the MCLA, said he plans to visit Disneyland with his son while his players will take time off to recover from two hard-fought games to open the tournament.
“They deserve a little rest right now,” Lovic said, “then get ready for the high-powered offense of Chapman.”
Grand Valley Cuts Down Concordia
Its record wasn’t as shiny as the competition, but No. 6 Grand Valley State (9-5) was not only able to stifle one of the top offenses in Division II, but handed No. 3 Concordia-Irvine (15-1) its first loss of the season. The victory sends the Lakers to the semifinals where they will face No. 7 Reinhardt in the semifinals.
Tied at five at halftime, the GVSU backline closed the door in the third quarter, blanking the Eagles for a span of 32:32 bridging the second and fourth quarters. The Lakers weren’t able to break away as they notched only one goal in the third, but the advantage would hold up.
“They are a good team and they’ve been there,” said GVSU coach Tim Murray of Concordia. “But we’ve been there, too.”
Erick Sundstrom and Seth Kuehnl accounted for six of the Lakers’ eight goals with a pair of hat tricks while Jake Parry dished out two assists. Kyrn Stoddard was credited with four saves in the victory. Max Satossky had three markers for Concordia while Ronnie Fernando had eight saves.
Grand Canyon Fends Off Boston College
Three different players recorded hat tricks as No. 3 Grand Canyon (12-4) jumped out to an early lead on No. 6 Boston College (13-4) and parried a late surge to notch an 11-8 victory in the quarterfinals. The Lopes now tangle with No. 2 Cal Poly in the semifinals on Thursday.
The defending Division I champions raced out to a 9-3 advantage, only to see the Eagles rally to narrow the gap to 9-6 in the third quarter. Helped by three goals each from Joe Balestrerie, Cam Wengreniuk and Dean Fairall, Grand Canyon was always able to stay one step ahead.
Steven Van Fossan scored four goals for Boston College while Mike Shepard stopped five shots. Brandon Suchand made nine saves for the Lopes.
Bison Stampede Past Owls
Mike Kulkulski scored six goals and the No. 4 North Dakota State (15-2) defense put the clamps on No. 5 Kennesaw State as the Bison coasted to a 10-4 victory in the quarterfinals. With the victory, NDSU will face top-seeded and UMLC conference rival St. Thomas in the semifinal.
Freshman goalie Will Ramert made 14 saves for NDSU while Connor Hanson turned away 21 saves in the loss.