Radford, Va. – Behind eight saves from senior goalkeeper Connor Behrend the Blue Hose (6-8-4) tied the Radford Highlanders (10-4-4) 0-0 in Radford, Virginia on Wednesday night. Behrend made one more clutch save in PK’s and that was enough for PC to advance to the Big South Championship on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. versus the High Point Panthers. The Blue Hose would make all five of their PK’s and take the 5-3 win.
How it happened:
Radford started fast on the offensive end attacking the Blue Hose goal but were denied less than a minute in to the contest. PC recovered and took the ball into Radford territory to gain some traction in the match after that.
The Blue Hose settled down and gained some offensive possessions down the stretch but Radford notched 10 first half shots, two of which were on goal. Behrend was able to come up with the necessary saves when the Highlander shots were on target.
Radford had their best scoring chance about 24 minutes in when the Higlanders hit the post, the ball ricocheted back into play but they were unable to collect and get a good look at the goal. Despite Behrend only having two saves four more shots were blocked by the Blue Hose defense.
The second half began the way the first half went but the Blue Hose came out with a more aggressive approach. Less than five minutes in PC had the ball attacking as Mathias Mikalsen got a shot off that went just wide. Behrend came up with another all-star type of save a few minutes later to keep Radford off the board.
Behrend made impressive save after save in the second half and over time periods. PC ramped up its offensive attack in the second half and overtime period as they had 11 shots total after having zero in the first half.
Just at the end of the first overtime freshman Andrew Miller-Bell had a look at a goal but the Highlander defense was able to get in the way just enough to keep the ball out of the net and send the game into the second overtime. In the second overtime Behrend was able to come up with back to back saves in the same sequence preserving the shutout.
For the second year in a row 110 minutes was not enough to solve this game as they went penalty kicks, this time it was PC that came up with the 5-3 advantage to advance. Both teams made their first three kicks. The Blue Hose made their fourth while Behrend would make the save on Radford’s fourth kick, Ricardo Hernandez clinched it for PC as they went 5-5 on PK’s to advance and now play High Point for the championship.
“It is fantastic for these player to work this hard all season long,” said coach Jonathan Potter. “There has been tons of up and down and we have a lot of young guys and for them to be so resilient and tough and to grind it out tonight, I am just so proud of them. I am delighted for the program and certainly want to thank everyone who has supported us.”
“I expect a tough game, anytime you are in a Final it is all about your confidence and toughness.”
Player of the Game:
The senior goalkeeper C. Behrend playing in what could have been his final game once again came up with clutch save after clutch save. He had eight in total and at least three just grazed his feet or hands.
- This was the fourth straight match over the last two seasons that went to overtime.
- Just like the 2016 Big South Semifinal game this one came down to PK’s, but this time it was PC coming out with the 5-3 advantage.
- This was Behrend’s fifth shutout of the season and ninth career.
- Behrend recorded a shutout for the second time this season when having 20-plus shots taken against him.
- PC allowed a season high 24 shots while only taking 11, it would not matter though as Radford was unable to score.
The Blue Hose advance to face the High Point Panthers on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in High Point, N.C. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.