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PNAC Loses to Croatian Team in Shootout | Joseph Previtali | March 21, 2007
Playing without three of their starters, including goalkeeper Deacon Andy Roza, the Pontifical North
American College stared down a seemingly impossible challenge against the
highly-skilled and physical Croatian team that, having won their first two
games, held the first-place spot in Group A of the 2007 Clericus Cup. Leading
1-0 at halftime, after a goal by co-coach Daniel O'Mullane (assisted by Fr.
Jeremy Leatherby), the American side seemed on the brink of an impressive
victory, 30 minutes away from sole possession of first place in Group A.
Indeed, the NAC had kept
good pressure on the Croatian defense during the first half. O'Mullane had hit
the woodwork early on, and they had several other chances, in addition to the
co-coach's finesse goal midway through the first half, in which he received the
pass from Leatherby, controlled the ball, and flipped an accurate shot over the
head of the goalkeeper and into the net.
However, the first 20
minutes of the second half told a decidedly different story. The NAC defense,
forced to play without injured starter and energizer Deacon Josh Waltz, played
with a self-admitted lethargy, allowing numerous chances for the Croatians,
including two free kicks and two corner kicks. Solid play from goalkeeper Jacob
Bertrand, who played in place of the vacationing Roza, along with excellent
stops from the several NAC defenders, kept the Croatians off the board.
Finally, the Croatian attack
broke through the NAC defense. The Croatian attacker shot through the parted
NAC defense and fired a 15-yard bullet to the top right-hand corner of the
goal, well outside of Bertrand's reach. The Croatians had tied the game at 1-1.
For the final ten minutes of
the second half, the NAC defense rebounded and played solidly, and the pressure
was even for both sides. The NAC missed a few good chances down the stretch,
hurt in part by some poor decision-making in the midfield, where the team was
without starter Phil Smith, who was running the Rome Marathon the next day. The
game ended in a draw, both teams picking up one league point, and the NAC was
once again faced with the penalty-kick shootout, where they would have to earn
the coveted second league point against the first-place Croatians.
The shootout started well
for the NAC, as Aaron Killips and Fernando Saenz matched the Croatian shooters'
successful penalty kicks. The Croatian side was successful on their third,
while the NAC's third shooter, James Adams, missed his penalty kick to the left
off the goalpost, putting the NAC in a position of disadvantage, from which
they never recovered. The Croatians won the shootout 5-4, and they came away
with two points to the NAC's one.
With six league points, the
NAC now stands in a three-way tie for second place in Group A, behind the first-place
Croatians. They play one of their fellow second-place teams, Tiberino, on
Saturday. The top four teams from each group advance to the elimination-round
of the Clericus Cup.
Pontifical North American College | 2007 Clericus Cup Schedule (Preliminary
March 3, 9:30AM vs. Pontificio Collegio Urbano (Field
A). 0-0 (4-3).
March 10, 9:30AM vs. Pontificio Seminario Gallico (French
College) (Field B). 4-0.
March 17, 9:30AM vs. Croati (Field B) 4-5.
March 24, 9:30AM vs. Tiberino (Field A)
April 14, 11:15AM vs. O.M.I.
Team (Field B)
April 21, 9:30AM vs. P.U. Gregoriana (Gregorian University)
April 28, 9:30AM vs. C.I. Mater Ecclesiae (Legionaries of
Christ) (Field B)
Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles:
NAC defeats PGC, 4-0 | Joseph
Previtali | March 10, 2007
Shootout In Rome: NAC wins its first 2007 Clericus Cup match | Joseph
Previtali | March 6, 2007
North American College soccer team wins|
Seminarians and Soccer! Meet the
Pontifical North American College Clericus Cup Team | Joseph Previtali
Joseph Filice Previtali is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of San
Francisco. He is in his third year of theological studies at the
Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he currently resides. In
June, he will receivethe Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from
the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). Previously,
he was sports editor and columnist for The Gonzaga Witness,
a Catholic student newspaper, which he co-founded
with his friends at Gonzaga University. He will be reporting on the
Clericus Cup for IgnatiusInsight.com and the Insight Scoop blog throughout the
course of the tournament.
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