DUE WEST, SC - The Pfeiffer men's soccer team (10-8-2) battled the No. 1 seeded Erskine Flying Fleet (12-5-2) for 110 minutes before falling 5-4 in a shootout in the Conference Tournament Semifinals Friday night. The game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and stretched beyond the two overtime periods before the Flying Fleet advanced to the Conference Championship match. It was the second time the two teams met in Due West, with Pfeiffer coming away with the 2-1 victory in the first contest, Erskine's only conference blemish of the season.
Erskine's Andrew Settlemire converted the sixth and final penalty kick, ending the Falcons season.
Pfeiffer held a 3-2 lead in the shootout as Nathan Regis, Niko Andrade and Aldo Ramirez all converted. Jack Power missed the Flying Fleet's third attempt, putting Pfeiffer in the driver's seat. However, Seth Dey missed the following attempt and Erskine converted, tying the shootout at three. Andrew Olortegui and Roberto De La Vina each scored, sending the shootout to a sixth shot. Corey Davis was unable to put his shot home, leading to Settlemire's winner.
"This was a great soccer match between two good teams," commented Head Coach Bob Reasso after the game. "It was an even game and Erskine's goalie kept them in the game in the second half. In the last 20 minutes we had five great chances and he proved why he is the goalkeeper of the year. He made two exceptional saves and we unfortunately missed the target on the other three. We also had three balls cleared off the line tonight."
Pfeiffer jumped out to the early lead in the 27th minute off a corner kick. Senior Aldo Ramirez lofted the corner into the box to Luke Janes who put it in the back of the goal for his third score of the season. Pfeiffer continued the offensive pressure as Nathan Regis' shot in the 33rd minute was saved by De La Vina to keep Erskine within one. At that point, Pfeiffer held a 9-5 advantage in shots. Erskine would rally offensively, and take the next five shots, before Kyle Toler put one on net that was saved. At the end of the first half, shots were even at 10 with Pfeiffer holding a 4-3 lead in shots on goal.
Just over 12 minutes into the second half, Erskine netted the equalizer. Victor Nirennold took a cross from Settlemire and put his shot past freshman keeper Nicolas Dulac. Neither team was able to break through in the final 53 minutes of game action.
The Falcons had a tremendous turnaround this season under Reasso, transforming from one win a year ago to 10 wins and nearly advancing to the Championship match this season. The Falcons
Erskine will host Limestone in the finals on Sunday afternoon.