Men’s Soccer Makes Miracle Run
By Bryson Eldridge – Co-Managing Editor
The Royals finished off their playoff run with a 1-0 victory against Elizabethtown College to win the Landmark Conference Championship and clinch a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Seamus O’Keefe gained possession of the ball near midfield and sent a pass to freshman Justin Curran who gave it right back to O’Keefe, and the latter found Gavin Scavino, who found the back of the net past a charging Elizabethtown goalie.
The Royals were able to hold on to win the game 1-0. As the buzzer sounded the Royals sprinted onto the field and embraced their teammates. This is the first conference championship since 2016.
The Royals were the first team since 2010 to win the Landmark Title after finishing the regular season as the fourth seed. Regardless, their confidence never wavered.
Royals midfielder Nicholas Addamo had nothing but faith in this team since the beginning of the year.
“Winning the chip was so unreal because we pulled off a fairy tale story all while doing it with my boys. The crazy thing is that I’m not surprised it happen because I believed in this team and my family all along,” Addamo said.
With two weeks left in the regular season the Royals were not favored to even be in the Landmark Conference tournament. The Royals sat fifth in the conference after tying Moravian and losing to Drew. Their path to the playoffs would require two consecutive wins in the regular to clinch the fourth seed in the Landmark Conference playoffs.
After getting a road win against Susquehanna, the Royals secured a win in the season finale behind Justin Curran’s thrilling goal with 12 seconds left in the first half to go up 1-0. The Royals backline led by goalie Aidan Hartey held strong with multiple late game saves to win the game.
“The story couldn’t have been written any better having our playoff hopes in our hands against juniors on our senior day and we couldn’t have played any better that day. We dominated and we earned our spot into the playoffs with a little luck,” Addamo said.
The Royals would be matched up with the number one seed Catholic University Cardinals who was perfect in regular season play with a record of 6-0. The Cardinals beat the Royals 1-0 in the regular season in a hard-fought game which the Cardinals scored off a penalty kick.
The Royals went down to D.C. with a sense of confidence after playing Catholic so close in the regular season.
After a scoreless first half the Royals were able to make a strong attack into the Cardinals defense. Dylan Estevez made a cross to Ciaran Corr for a header that was able to sneak past the Catholic goalkeeper.
The Royals’ defense was able to stop a few last-minute drives from the Cardinals and upset top-seeded Catholic to move onto the championship game versus Elizabethtown where they would finish the job with a 1-0 victory.