May 30, 2024

West lifts UMFK into national semis

FRESNO, Calif. – University of Maine-Fort Kent freshman midfielder Jermaine West hit the crossbar with 31 seconds left in the second overtime.

But he found the net in the sudden-death round of penalty kicks to send the Bengals to their first-ever berth in the NAIA National Tournament quarterfinals by virtue of a 5-4 penalty kicks triumph over Notre Dame College (Ohio) Tuesday afternoon.

The game was tied 2-2 after regulation and two overtime periods.

Each team converted four of five penalty kicks in the first round which set up the sudden-death round.

UMFK goalie Giovanni Sinclair saved Notre Dame’s penalty kick and West converted his to decide it.

“I put it to the goalie’s [Craig Pickering] right. That’s where I usually put it,” said West. “That’s my job. I did my job.”

UMFK, now 20-0-2 and the 10th seed, will take on second seed the University of Rio Grande (Ohio), 17-3-1, in today’s 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal. Notre Dame beat Rio Grande 2-1 on Oct. 25.

Andre Anderson opened the scoring with his 26th goal of the season as he converted a cross by Keith Williams II just 5:24 into the game.

But Notre Dame’s Luke Holmes equalized 8:03 later by firing home a Dave Manson pass from near the penalty spot.

Holmes scored his 17th goal by converting a penalty kick with 33:36 remaining in the second half before Williams leveled matters 12:50 later when he toe-poked a Walford Stewart cross inside the near post.

Sixteen seconds later, Notre Dame’s Andrew Carr received his second yellow card, prompting a red card and expulsion from the game, leaving the Falcons playing with 10 men.

Each goalie made four saves through the overtimes. UMFK had 20 shots at goal to Notre Dame College’s 17.

“For a team from Fort Kent to make the ‘Elite Eight’ isn’t bad,” said UMFK coach Bill Ashby. “But the boys aren’t satisfied yet.

“Notre Dame was a real good team. They played extremely well. They put us under pressure like we hadn’t seen before and we cracked a little in the first half,” said Ashby. “It took us 45 minutes to adjust to that level. But we sorted some things out at halftime and we carried the play in the second half. We really carried it after we went a man up.”

He rated their performance as “medium.”

“It took us a half to settle down and get organized,” said UMFK midfielder and captain Emlyn Jacoby. “We got rid of the butterflies and came out fighting [in the second half].”

Jacoby said his Bengals were lucky because they received a “dress rehearsal” against Northwood University (Fla.) in their first-round game.

UMFK won that game 3-1 in penalty kicks after battling to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes.

Rio Grande will be the more rested of the two teams as it ousted Madonna (Mich.) 2-1 on Monday.

“The extra day of rest will be helpful but anything can happen,” said Jacoby.

“They’re a lot like Notre Dame,” said Ashby. “They have a lot of English players. They tackle hard and play a lot of long balls. They’re very talented. It’ll be another battle and we’ve got to meet the challenge.”


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