After a final weekend of play, the playoff matchups have been established for the Atlantic 10 Championships beginng Thursday.
Fordham will play St. Bonaventure in the first round, which will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season. Earlier in the year, the game resulted in a 2-1 win for the Rams (9-6-3, 6-1-2 A-10).
During the contest, Fordham was eager to strike first as senior Alex Brunbauer scored in the 29th minute. In the same minute, however, the Bonnies (9-8, 5-4 A-10) scored right back with a goal by senior Sam Maheu.
Going into the halftime break, the two teams were evenly matched. It took a goal by freshman Marcus Axelsson in the 54th minute to put the Rams ahead for good. With these two teams meeting again in the playoffs, a tight game should be expected.
The second match taking place on Nov. 12 is likely to be the most highly anticipated match of the weekend, as No. 15 Charlotte will take on host, Rhode Island. The 49ers (11-3-4, 5-2-2 A-10) and Rams (9-8-1, 6-3-0 A-10) have not previously met this season.
While Rhode Island has the fourth seed in the playoff bracket, Charlotte has arguably had a better season, earning a national rank.
The 49ers currently lead the A-10 in goals with 39, while Rhode Island has had fewer scores as they sit in seventh place with 26 goals. This is one of four categories that Charlotte leads the conference in, along with shots, points and goals per game.
First seeded Dayton awaits the lowest remaining seed after the first two matches, while second seeded Saint Louis will play the highest remaining seed.
Saint Joseph’s ends season winless
It was a winless season for Saint Joseph’s, as it could not capitalize on its final shot at victory when it was shutout, 3-0, by Saint Louis.
Facing the Billikens (12-6-0, 7-2-0 A-10) was not an easy task for a team without any wins. The Hawks (0-17-0, 0-9-0 A-10) could not find an answer during the match, as their nine shots were stopped by Saint Louis.
Saint Joseph’s let up a goal 22 minutes into the match to give the Billikens the lead. This was followed by two yellow card bookings to junior Greg Dunsing and senior Travis Gast.
With a 1-0 lead at the half, Saint Louis took charge and scored two more goals to complete the game. Sophomore Mike Roach netted a loose ball with his chest, giving the Billikens the commanding 2-0 lead. With four seconds left in the game, sophomore Beau Bellomy scored a goal to make it 3-0.
A bright spot for the Hawks was goalkeeper Andrew D’Ottavi who had four saves during the match. D’Ottavi’s saving efforts gave Saint Joseph’s the league lead in saves – its only conference-leading category.
Double OT thriller gives Dayton regular season conference title
To clinch the A-10 regular season title, No. 23 Dayton needed either a tie or a win. The Flyers got what they wanted with a 2-1 win over St. Bonaventure after two overtime periods.
Dayton (13-4-1, 8-1-0 A-10) cut it close during the match, trailing 1-0 with about a minute left to play in regulation. Senior Jeff Popella scored a goal to knot the game up and send it into overtime. The goal could not have been more dramatic, as Popella scored on the penalty kick.
Popella scored again during the overtime period, giving Dayton the 2-1 victory. Though the win was not necessary, it did put a stamp on a successful season for the Flyers.
This is the first time since 2000 that Dayton has won the regular season conference title.
Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]