RICHMOND, Va. – Sixth-seeded Fordham used a defensive effort that did not allow a shot on goal as it upended top-seeded Rhode Island, 1-0 to capture the 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Soccer Championship at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, Va.
With the win, Fordham earns the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament next week. The tournament brackets will be released on Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on NCAA.com. The loss drops Rhode Island to 13-5-3 on the season.
The championship is Fordham’s second A-10 title in men’s soccer and the first since 1996. The Rams become the third six-seed to win the championship in the past five years.
Fordham keeper Sean Brailey was named the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player after anchoring a Ram defense that allowed one goal over three games. Brailey notched two shutouts, making 13 saves in the process.
After the teams played a scoreless first-half, Fordham got the only goal it needed following a Christopher Bazzini throw-in that Jannik Loebe collected the ball in traffic and beat URI’s Nils Leifhelm just 53 seconds into the second stanza.
Rhode Island outshot Fordham 16-11, including a 14-7 edge in the second-half, but the Fordham defense was able to keep each of those 16 shots off frame.
Joining Brailey on the all-championship team were teammates Loebe, Bazzini, Alexandar Mastilovic and Matthew Lewis. Leifhelm was joined by fellow URI teammates Matt Sykes, Mike Casey and Wesley Matthews.Robert Kristo and Kingsley Bryce of Saint Louis were also named to the team, along with George Mason’s Daniel Hoffman.