Durham, N.C. – (November 25, 2017) – For the second time in this NCAA Championship tournament, the Fordham men's soccer team fought back from two one-goal deficits to force overtime at 2-2, and eventually won a penalty kick shootout, 8-7, to advance past the #6 seed Duke Blue Devils at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
The match goes into the record books as a tie with Fordham moving to 14-5-3 on the season, while Duke ends their campaign at 13-4-3. It marks the first time a Fordham Division I men's program has reached the final eight of the national championship tournament. Only the 1978-79 women's basketball team had previously reached the last eight of the
then-AIAW National Championship.
"The group is such a tough group. They love playing with each other and didn't want to have their season end," said head coach Jim McElderry after the game. "I'm just so proud of them. They kept pushing and pushing, they tie the game, and the guys that stepped up in the shootout… just fabulous."
Duke didn't waste much time getting on the board in the eighth minute, as Brian White headed in a cross from Max Moser for his tenth goal of the season inside the right post.
The score remained at 1-0 until the 53rd minute when Fordham knotted the game at one. Bart Dziedzic dribbled out from the sideline and crossed the ball in the box for Jannik Loebe. Loebe corralled the ball, turned, and fired the ball into the right side of goal for his career-high eighth marker of the season.
The Blue Devils then regained the lead in the 63rd minute. Off a Max Moser corner, White flicked the ball to Matthias Frick on a scramble in front, and just got the ball over the line as Fordham goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu attempted to grab it. After video review, the goal was confirmed.
Fordham would not let their season end on that goal, as the Rams tied the game at two in the 87th minute. Off a long ball, Dziedzic picked up the ball left of the box and cut in. The Duke goalkeeper and two defenders converged on the ball, but could not grab it. Dziedzic tapped the loose ball into the open goal for his third of the season, and tie the game at two with 3:22 left.
The match went into overtime, with both sides having chances, but none found the back of the net, putting the game into a penalty kick shootout to decide, who would advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Fordham shot first with Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic denying Janos Loebe to start.
After Joergen Oland and Matthew Lewis converted their penalty kicks for Fordham, Nuhu denied Kristofer Gardarsson with a kick save to put the score at 2-2 through three shooters. Nuhu then converted on his own penalty attempt, while Duke answered, making it three-all to the fifth shooter.
Jannik Loebe then hit the crossbar to give Duke a chance to win, but Nuhu stopped Carter Manley with a punch save to the left side to push the shootout into extra shooters. Matt Miller, Dziedzic, Vincenzo Zuccala, Connor DeFilippis converted the next four kicks, as did Duke, putting the tenth shooter on the spot.
The tenth shooter for Fordham was senior backup goalkeeper Jordan Black, who has yet to play a single second in goal this season for the Rams. He calmly converted into the left side of the goal to put Fordham ahead, 8-7. Moser had to score for Duke to continue the shootout, but Nuhu made the stop to the right post, putting the Rams into the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
Nuhu finished with three saves during the game and matched that with three in the shootout. Pulisic made two saves in game and one in the shootout.
The Rams will now take on #3 seed North Carolina on Saturday, December 2nd at 6:00 PM in North Carolina.