NEW ROCHELLE, NY — It is irony of the highest order that one of the biggest moments in the great legacy of Monroe men’s soccer came in a game that the Mustangs did not play in.
This morning, with the Mustangs on hand to see the course of their immediate future play itself out, Louisburg (NC) defeated Northeast Texas 4-2, thereby securing the Mustangs’ position as National Semifinalists.
Because of the ‘Pool Play’ tie-breaker rules of goal-differnetial, Monroe’s 1-1 tie in Game One against Louisburg and their 3-0 win in Game Two over Northeast Texas, meant that If Louisburg won by any less than three goals, Monroe would advance.
That the Hurricanes didn’t capitalize on a PK with seven minutes remaining and barely missed on a free kick from 25 yards out with :03 showing on the clock that could have buried Monroe, only heightened the tension among the Mustangs who watched their fate determined by factors out of their control.
At this point, it’s all in the past. The 12-3-1 Mustangs will have Friday off to practice and recuperate from a grueling two consecutive-day stretch of national tournament games.
They will play on Saturday at 12:00pm (2:00pm NY time) agaianst Iowa Western, the tournament’s #1seed.
“This was impossible to watch,” Coach Marcus Dibernardo said, “since we couldn’t really control our own destiny. And it didn’t make it any easier that there were so many opportunities for it to go either way. But I’ve said all along that if we could emerge from this pool and make it to the semis, we have a chance to win it all. You can be sure that when Saturday comes around, our guys will be quite ready for the challenge.”
Monroe’s women’s soccer team has also qualified for the national semifinals. They will play Eastern Florida at 8:00pm on Friday in Melbourne, FL.