N'western falls in semis
NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Bangor's Matt Cameron (left) kicks the ball as Northwestern's Trevor Lear moves in to try and take it away.
SALISBURY - Northwestern stayed within striking distance making Bangor (14-2-2) more nervous as their Colonial League boys soccer semifinal moved along.
With 12:08 left in regulation, the Slaters' Andrew Dent, a junior midfielder, was able to blast a shot past Tiger goalie Talon Williams and that was all they needed for a 1-0 victory that moved them into Saturday's championship game.
The No. 2 seeded Slaters will face top-seeded Southern Lehigh, a 2-1 overtime winner over Moravian Academy at 1 p.m. back at Salisbury.
"It was going both ways," said Northwestern head coach Fernando Carrizo afterwards. "Bangor was very fortunate to get that shot from 30 yards out. Unfortunately, my goalkeeper (Talon Williams) isn't as tall as some goalkeepers and it got upper 90 which was good. It was a good shot.
Williams actually made some fantastic saves (eight), half of them during the first half when Bangor kept the pressure on.
"I thought we controlled the second half," added Carrizo. "Bangor controlled the first 25 minutes in the first half. Overall, I think we were the better team, but when you don't put the ball in the net you don't win games."
The Slaters, who won their first league playoff game ever, actually outshot the Tigers 11-10 for the game, but Northwestern had a one shot edge in the second half.
Northwestern was playing without senior captain defender Ben Marich, who injured his ACL in the first meeting between the two on October 8 (a 3-1 Bangor win) and is done for the season.
"That had to hurt," said Carrizo, of his Colonial League All-Star. "We have some young defenders. I had two juniors and a sophomore playing on defense so I can't complain. I thought our entire team did well."
Bangor head coach David White breathed a sigh of relief when the final second ticked off the clock since he had to use backup goalie Jake Johnson. Starter Jon Phillips was injured over the weekend.
Johnson was involved in a collision on a Northwestern goal attempt with six minutes left in the game, but shook it off and stayed on the field. White would have had to go with freshman goalie Matt Palmer if Johnson didn't continue.
"We were really confident going in to halftime because we controlled the midfield real well," said White. "I think we had a halftime nap going there.
"When we came out after the break, they Northwestern (11-6) really stepped it up a notch. They were a little flat in the first half, but they really stepped it up. They pressured everything and that threw us off our game a little bit.
"Our game plan in the second half was to take a couple of long shots to try and get one over their keeper and Dent took a real nice shot from that distance,"
The Slaters were happy not to go into overtime like they did last year.
Northwestern, on the other hand, will get ready for the District 11 Class AA playoffs that begin on Tuesday.