Men’s Soccer Wins CAA Championship

Posted: November 17, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The third-seeded George Mason Patriots (13-6-2, 6-4-1 CAA) captured the 2008 Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Soccer Championship with a 1-0 shutout of the fifth-seeded Northeastern Huskies (7-5-9, 5-2-4 CAA) at UNCW Soccer Stadium in Wilmington, N.C.

It is Mason’s fifth conference title in the history of the program and the first since the conference adopted the tournament format beginning with the 1990 season.

With the win, the Patriots clinch the CAA’s automatic berth in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship. The first round of action is slated to begin this weekend.

Mason will play on either Friday, Nov. 21, or Saturday, Nov. 22, with the exact date, opponent and site to be announced live on Monday, Nov. 17, at approximately 5:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.

In the 38th minute of action, the Patriots got into the scoring column when senior forward Lucas Pardew beat his defender one-on-one, and crossed the ball in front of the goal to senior forward Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe, who stuck out his heel to poke the ball into the right corner of the net to give Mason a 1-0 lead. It was Adjeman-Pamboe’s eighth goal in the past seven matches and his team-leading ninth of the season.

The Patriots, who outshot the Huskies 11-2 in the first half and 19-8 in the match, had other opportunities to score but couldn’t quite finish. In the 18th minute, Adjeman-Pamboe, a First-Team All-CAA performer, beat his defender, made his way into the right side of the box and blasted a shot towards the goal from 10 yards out. Northeastern junior goalkeeper Scott Partridge came up with the stop to keep Mason off the scoreboard.

Despite limited shot attempts in the first half and throughout the match, Northeastern found itself in position to possibly take the lead in the 30th minute when junior midfielder Matthew Laning dribbled the ball down the left sideline, moved into the middle of the field and took a shot from 20 yards out. Mason junior goalkeeper Sean Kelley dropped to his knees to make the save to thwart the Huskies’ scoring attempt.

The Patriot offense opened the second half like it closed the first, putting consistent pressure on Partridge. However, George Mason was dealt a blow in the 64th minute when freshman midfielder Ryan Gracia was given his second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card and his immediate disqualification from the contest. As a result, the Patriots were forced to play a man down for the remaining 26 minutes of the match.

After the red card was issued, Northeastern immediately attempted to make the Patriots pay, taking three close-range shots in the 65th minute. The first attempt, by junior midfielder Lars Okland, was deflected to junior midfielder Alexander Volk, who fired a shot that Kelley was able to get a hand on for the save. The final shot attempt, by sophomore forward Nick Lueders, sailed wide, and Mason regained possession. The Patriot defense stifled the Huskies’ offense the rest of the way.

Kelley registered his ninth shutout in 19 starts, recording three saves. Partridge finished with six saves in 90 minutes of action in a losing effort. The two goalkeepers entered the match ranking 1-2 in the conference in shutouts.

Mason had to win two matches to advance to the CAA Championship. In the first round, the Patriots shut out No. 6 Hofstra 5-0 to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Mason opened up a 4-0 lead on No. 2 William and Mary on its way to a 5-3 victory.

Adjeman-Pamboe was selected the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Richard Edgar, Jonathan Borrajo and Eber Martinez. Making the squad from Northeastern were Okland, Volk and Brendan Ennis. Also earning all-tournament honors were Brian Harrison and Indy Smith of UNC Wilmington and Andrew Hoxie and Doug McBride from William and Mary.

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