Muskegon (11-7-1) substitute Jorge Bravo scored the only goal of the match in the 72nd minute, collecting a loose ball 20 yards out and bending his well placed effort past the outstretched hands of Ancilla goalkeeper Alex Howe for the winner.
“It was an absolute heartbreaker,” said Ancilla men’s soccer coach James Drzewiecki. “Both teams were so organized today and it was one of those matches where a team would need to come up with a bit of magic to win it. I don’t think Bravo could have hit that ball any better.”
Howe came up with four saves in his final appearance for Ancilla.
Ancilla (9-7-1) had several chances throughout the match to score a goal of their own – none better than Manny Awuku’s effort late in the first half. A clever combination between Awuku and fellow striker JaCoby Smith put the Englishman alone with only Muskegon goalkeeper Tyler Lane to beat. Lane managed to get a leg on to Awuku’s effort to keep the match scoreless.
Ancilla found themselves with two corner kicks in the final 20 seconds of the match, desperately seeking an equalizer. Muskegon managed to hold on, however, for the first postseason win in their program’s history.
The Chargers were without the services of center midfielder and sophomore captain Horraine Lewis, who was forced to sit out the match due to a booking earned in the previous match against Delta College.
“Not having Horraine certainly hurt us,” said Drzewiecki. “That’s no knock on our other midfielders – they were fantastic today. I thought Juan Delgado and Nic Gunyon really did a fine job playing that holding mid slot today. Still, we would love to have those guys out there and be able to play them alongside Horraine. It does make a difference.”
With nine freshmen having started the match, Ancilla will head into the offseason with an excellent core of players to build around for 2012.
Muskegon, meanwhile, will advance to the NJCAA Region 12 semifinal, where they will face NJCAA #1 Schoolcraft College.