Providence, R.I. – The Johnson & Wales University men's soccer team survived and advanced in the first round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs on Saturday against the eighth seed Lasell University. Lasell held strong for most of regulation, plus two overtimes, but eventually succombed to the Wildcats in penalty kicks 4-2.
Lasell: 6-15-1 (5-6-1 GNAC)
Johnson & Wales: 16-2-2 (10-0-2 GNAC)
Nick Gutekunst (JWU) : 1 goal
Takuya Tsuji (LU) : 1 goal
Braeden Krakosky (JWU) : 1 assist
LU: Jackson Burhans (L, 4-7) 12 saves
JWU: Austin Scoggin (W, 14-2-1) 1 save
The Wildcats got things started with a goal from Nick Gutekunst in the 20th minute of the first half, with an assist from Braeden Krakosky, as both teams were in the process of testing each other in the playoff atmosphere. Little did JWU know that Gutekunst's shot would be the only goal scored for the Wildcats in regulation and overtime.
Later in the first half, Takuya Tsuji launched a beautiful free kick that beat the Wildcat keeper and equalized the match. It was one of five shots that Lasell would muster the entire match.
With the scored tied at one, JWU ratcheted up the pressure in the second half, peppering the Lasell keeper with shot after shot. Jakson Burhans held the line for Lasell and kept the tie solid in regulation.
Two overtimes did not decide this one, so penalty kicks became the focus. JWU's first three participants Riley Spotton, Nick Gutekunst, and Kevin Reilly all connected, while Lasell's first three had a one miss. Then, the Wildcats JP Rioux blasted his shot home which paired with a second miss from Lasell and JWU advanced to the next round of the GNAC playoffs.
The Wildcats host the University of Saint Joseph's (CT) Blue Jays on Wednesday, the #1 seed vs. the #4, with an invitation to the finals on the line.