By Justin Rimpi and Anthony Covino
Managing Editor and Sports Editor
FDU goalie Jahmali Waite threw his hands up in the air as he saved the penalty kick that sent the Knights into the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven years.
The 2019 Men’s College Cup selection show (NCAA.com) will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, when FDU will learn its opponent.
FDU claimed the 2019 NEC Title by beating LIU in a 3-2 penalty shootout victory after regulation ended in a 1-1 tie. The game was held on the campus of St. Francis (Pa.) in Loretto on Friday.
“Tremendous guts. Tremendous resiliency by these guys,” Head Coach Seth Roland said following the team’s victory. “They have a lot to be proud of and I’m really proud of them. Jahmali bought tremendous leadership, tremendous ability in goal, tremendous presence and a whole lot of heart.”
This is the Knight’s ninth NEC tournament crown.
Two overtime periods were not enough to decide a NEC champion. For the second game in a row, the Knights needed a shootout to keep their season alive.
Waite was masterful once again as he saved 3 of 4 shots from the Sharks in the shootout. Waite also saved 3 of 4 penalty shots when the Knights took down the #1 overall seed St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday.
Waite was named the 2019 NEC Tournament MVP and to the All NEC Tournament Team.
LIU started out the game with a goal in the 4th minute from the 2019 NEC Rookie of the Year freshman forward Papa Ndoye on a blistering shot from outside the box. Junior midfielder/defender Jonas Dovland and sophomore midfielder Xavier Verdu assisted on the goal.
This goal gave LIU an early one goal cushion with plenty of time for FDU to regroup and build up their attack to tie the game.
At halftime LIU had the lead 1-0, and FDU was still looking to tie the game.
In the 64th minute, the Knights got their equalizer off a corner kick when freshman forward Jared Dillon headed it in the back of the net with assists from junior forward Diego Arribas and sophomore defender Anthony Herbert.
In the first overtime, both teams played defensively, shutting down attacks and shots. No goals were scored and that led to the second overtime before penalty kicks. Both teams had chances to score, but both defenses stopped any shots they had.
The score was tied 1-1 after two overtimes and headed to penalty kicks for FDU once again.
Ideal Shefqeti, Daniel Lasarte, and Arribas scored the penalty kicks for the Knights.
Redshirt sophomore defender Adrian Barajas, sophomore defender Herbert, and sophomore midfielder Shefqeti were all named to the All NEC Tournament Team.
In 2012, during the Knights last appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Knights made it to the Sweet 16.
Roland is the winningest coach at FDU with a record of 212-173-58 and the winningest coach in the NEC with a record of 109-58-35 over his 23 years at FDU.
This is Roland’s seventh trip to the NEC Tournament.