The AU men’s soccer team clinched the Patriot League regular season title for the fourth time in program history despite falling 1-0 in its regular season finale at Holy Cross Nov. 5.
The Eagles’ (7-11-1, 5-2 PL) 15 points in Patriot League play were just enough to take the crown. Colgate University finished second with 14 points.
The game’s lone goal came in the 61st minute when Holy Cross (2-13-2, 1-6 PL) senior captain Jordan Michael connected with Tommy Uttaro. Michael set up the pass on the right side to Uttaro, whose diving header beat AU goalkeeper Matt Makowski. It was Uttaro’s third goal of the season and Michael’s second assist.
AU struggled to get a shot off in the first half, only recording three to the Crusaders’ eight. The tables turned in the second half however, as AU picked up play with eight shots while Holy Cross tried to protect its one-goal lead.
The Eagles would outshoot the Crusaders on the afternoon by an 11-10 margin, but six of Holy Cross’ 10 shots were on goal while Colin Seigfreid registered the only shot on net for the Eagles.
AU drew eight corner kicks but was unable to convert those opportunities into the equalizer.
Michael Thompson made one save for Holy Cross in goal, while Makowski registered five for the Eagles while playing 86 minutes.
Entering the game, the Eagles needed at least a draw to secure the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. After their loss, they no longer controlled a own destiny.
If Colgate defeated Navy in its season finale, it would earn the top seed in the tournament. But the game between Colgate and Navy ended in a scoreless draw, which meant AU finished in first place and Reeves Field will serve as host for the Patriot League Championship. The last time the Eagles had the opportunity to compete in the playoffs at home was 2005.
The Eagles will open tournament play when they host fourth-seeded Navy Nov. 11 in the first of two Friday semifinals.
In the other semifinal, second-seeded Colgate will square off against the third-slotted Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The final is set for Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.
AU’s only other conference loss this season came at the hands of the Midshipmen, when two early goals pushed Navy past the Eagles 2-1.
The Eagles will be looking to get over the hump this year after falling in the last two PL Tournament finals.
Bucknell University defeated the Eagles in the championship match during the last two seasons, as the Bison prevailed 2-0 in 2010 and 1-0 in 2009.