Men’s soccer wins first Patriot League Championship since 2004, punches ticket to the NCAA tournament

Senior forward Nick Dimitrijevic scores the game-winning goal in double overtime

Men’s soccer wins first Patriot League Championship since 2004, punches ticket to the NCAA tournament

Men's soccer wins Patriot League championship on April 17.

For the first time since 2004, American University men’s soccer (4-1-2) has advanced to the NCAA men’s soccer tournament after defeating the Lafayette Leopards (7-1) 2-1 in the Patriot League Championship’s double overtime thriller.

“I am extremely proud,” head coach Zach Samol said postgame. “I told the guys before the game, in our talk, that I was proud regardless of what happened today. They’ve done so well and so many things in this unconventional season; I’m just proud of the way they handled themselves.”

Junior forward David Coly scored the first goal in the 22nd minute in what became a long-fought match between the two sides. After Lafayette scored the equalizing goal in the 28th minute, both teams entered respective offensive droughts.

A red card for Lafayette in the second half gave the Eagles the advantage for the rest of the match. Lafayette lost its sophomore midfielder David Mizrahi after receiving two yellow cards back-to-back in the 74th and 75th minutes.

In double overtime, Coly got the ball into the right side of the penalty box after a throw-in from senior forward Nick Dimitrijevic. After a battle with two Lafayette defenders, Coly passed the ball to Dimitrijevic right in front of the goal. It took two attempts for him to score, as the first one was hit into the air by a defender, but the second hit home for the win.

“I’m not surprised about it,” Samol said of Dimitrijevic’s goal. “He’s been nursing an injury for a while now, but he’s been training and working. This week he was feeling a little bit better, so we let him play a bit. He’s just a positive thinking kid, so I’m not surprised; I’m not surprised to see he found the winner.”

The Eagles will find out who they will face in the first round of the NCAA tournament during Monday’s selection show at noon.

lclarke@theeagleonline.com

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