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PNAC defeats Tiberino, 3-1 | Joseph Previtali | March 30, 2007

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Snatching victory from the jaws of a tie, the Pontifical North American College defeated Tiberino 3-1 on Saturday, March 24th, in their fourth Clericus Cup match. The victory earned them three more points, bringing them into a tie with Mater Ecclesiae for second place in Group A, two points behind the first-place Croatians.

The NAC welcomed back Phil Smith and Deacon Andy Roza to their starting lineup, and both players made an immediate impact on the game. However, the match stood scoreless at the half, as both sides played evenly, while failing to capitalize on golden scoring opportunities.

But the scoreless tie would not last long. Just minutes into the second half, Jaime Gil threw the ball in to Jimmy Morrison, in what seemed to be a rather ordinary play. But Morrison passed it right back to Gil, who took off with the ball towards the center of the field and, with his left foot from thirty yards out, unleashed a powerful long ball towards the goal, where Daniel O'Mullane was in position to put a shot on goal. However, the ball was struck so powerfully and accurately that, with its awkward spin, it bounced in front of the confused goalkeeper and over his head into the Tiberino net. What was meant to be a pass turned into a shot, and the NAC led 1-0.

The game remained at 1-0 for the rest of the second half until the referees would almost cost the NAC the game.

With about three minutes to play, the Tiberino side took a corner kick, which appeared to go out of bounds in the air and then curve back into play. According to the rules of soccer, such a ball is out of bounds and thus results in a change of possession and a goal kick. But the linesman failed to make the call, and with the NAC goalkeeper Deacon Andy Roza having stopped playing because of the obvious boundary infraction, the uncontested ball was headed into the goal by a Tiberino player. The NAC players protested vehemently, but the no-call stood, and the game was tied at 1-1.

With the game near its conclusion, it seemed to be a repeat of last week's frustrating tie with the Croatians. But Gil and O'Mullane would not let the North American squad lose.

The kickoff following the goal resulted in Gil's being fouled just behind midfield. The second-year seminarian from Boise then, with masterful accuracy, sent the free kick over the defense and onto the foot of O'Mullane, who, in one motion, received the ball and redirected it into the goal. The NAC had immediately answered the Tiberino goal, and the score stood 2-1. Pandemonium reached a fever pitch in the American cheering section.

One minute later, the NAC added an insurance goal as Morrison assisted O'Mullane's second goal of the game. The American side played strong defense for the remaining minutes, and the final whistle blew, with the NAC defeating Tiberino 3-1.

The Clericus Cup now takes a two-week respite for Holy Week and Easter. Play will resume on Saturday, April 14, when the NAC takes on the O.M.I. Team at 11:15 AM.

Pontifical North American College | 2007 Clericus Cup Schedule (Preliminary Round)

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) 3-1.
April 14, 11:15AM vs. O.M.I. Team (Field B)
April 21, 9:30AM vs. P.U. Gregoriana (Gregorian University) (Field A)
April 28, 9:30AM vs. C.I. Mater Ecclesiae (Legionaries of Christ) (Field B)

Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles:

PNAC Loses to Croatian Team in Shootout | Joseph Previtali | March 21, 2007
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| Joseph Previtali
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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