Men’s Soccer Ties UNC, VU

Vermont and Vanderbilt battled hard for 110 minutes last Friday afternoon and settled for a 0-0 double-overtime tie in the opening round of the Smith Barney Soccer Classic in front of 915 fans at Centennial Field. Goalkeepers David Sullivan (five saves) of Vermont and freshman Conor Ellinger (six saves) of Vanderbilt each recorded their first shutout of the season. For Sullivan, a redshirt junior, it was his fourth whitewash in the Smith Barney Soccer Classic, now in its 13 season. In five career games in the classic, Sullivan has allowed just one goal. His first career shutout came in the 2001 Smith Barney against Georgetown and also was a 0-0 double OT affair. Vermont, in their home opener, carried the play in the early going with Matt Chavez and Chris Scherbal each having excellent first half scoring chances go wide or turned aside by Ellinger. Early in the second stanza, Scherbal again had a great chance in traffic but shot the ball high. Vandy’s Jimmy Stone came right back the other way but shot right at Sullivan. The Commodores (0-1-2) used an effective offside trap to slow down UVM and the 6-foot-5 Ellinger was able to cut down crossing passes in the late stages of regulation. In extra time, Vanderbilt exhibited more pressure outshooting the Catamounts 9-3. In the final game of the S.B.S.C. Matt Chavez’ goal with 4:47 left in regulation lifted Vermont to a surprising, come-from-behind, 1-1, tie over North Carolina in of the Smith Barney Soccer Classic in front of 1,324 fans at Centennial Field. The Tar Heels, who routed New Hampshire, 3-0, in the classic opener on Friday, entered the tournament ranked eighth in the nation. With a win and a tie on the weekend, UNC claimed the tournament championship but it was the gritty Catamounts who left the field feeling happy. “‘We are extremely happy with the result considering they are one of the best teams in the country and we are still have a couple of key guys hurt,” commented Vermont coach Roy Patton. “That was a real courageous effort by our lads today.” Led by sophomore sweeper Jesse Brady-Searby, the S.B.S.C. Defensive MVP, and junior goalkeeper David Sullivan (seven saves), a stingy and tenacious defense led the Vermont effort against a North Carolina team that last weekend knocked off Big East powers St. John’s and Connecticut. Vermont again had four regulars, including senior midfielder T.J. Mead, on the sidelines with various injuries. The Catamounts defense also allowed just one goal in 220 minutes this weekend after two games last weekend when they gave up five in 180 minutes. With an effective counter-attack, Vermont gained confidence against their ranked foe with a couple of solid scoring bids early in the game. John Antonucci had a point blank shot go high of the bar and an Ethan Hutchins header also just missed. In the 34th minute, Sullivan made perhaps his best save of the game punching a shot by Jamie Watson over the cage. Just 1:36 after halftime, UNC’s Corey Ashe opened the scoring with a goalmouth finish. The Catamounts had trouble clearing the ball from in front of Sullivan and Watson poked the ball to Ashe, who was wide open to the left of the cage. But the Tar Heels could not put away the Catamounts. From midfield freshman Corey Bronner served the ball toward the goalmouth. The ball deflected off a defender and UVM’s Tony Anderson, with his back to the goal, fed Chavez. From 10 yards out, the senior forward drilled a low drive that beat Carolina keeper Ford Williams (four saves) to the left side. Chavez again had a great opportunity to win it at end of the regulation but Williams stopped his 18-yarder. “Our defense let us down, and they took advantage”, noted North Carolina coach Elmar Bolowich. “They (Vermont) outworked us today–you have to say they earned the result.” Both teams had chances to win in the extra sessions, Bronner shot wide for Vermont in the first overtime and UNC had heavy pressure in the second OT, but could not convert. The tie also extended the Catamounts unbeaten streak at home to 11 games (8-0-3) dating back to the latter part of the 2001 season. Along with Brady-Searby, Bronner and Sullivan were named to the all-tourney team for Vermont (0-2-2) while Williams, Grant Porter and Marcus Storey (Offensive MVP) were named from North Carolina (3-0-1). Vermont continues their homestand hosting Harvard on Friday at 4:00pm.-Sports Info.