College Sports

Winthrop's men's soccer team tops Liberty in shootout, reaches Big South finals

CONWAY -- For the second time in three years, Winthrop men's soccer team will be playing in the Big South Conference championship match.

The top-seeded Eagles defeated fifth-seeded Liberty in a penalty shootout, 7-6, Friday evening at the 2008 Big South Conference Championship semifinals held at Coastal Carolina.

Daniel Revivo's penalty goal in the seventh round of the shootout propelled the Eagles into Sunday's championship match, where they will face either second-seeded Coastal Carolina or sixth-seeded UNC Asheville at 2 p.m.

The game was a rematch of last year's semifinal, which was won by Liberty in double overtime. It is the sixth time these two teams have met in the semifinals and the third time it has been settled in overtime. It was only the second time Winthrop has advanced to the championship game over Liberty head-to-head. The other came in 2006, in overtime.

"I've been on both ends of this in the past few years, and I certainly feel for Liberty," Eagles coach Rich Posipanko said. "I'm not sure the best team tonight is advancing. I was really frustrated we didn't have all of our players tonight and couldn't seem to pull it together most of the night on the field."

After the teams played to a 1-1 tie for 110 minutes, the game moved to penalty kicks. Winthrop (14-5-1) rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the penalty shootout to win in the seventh round of penalty shots. After Patrick Mitrovich made a save on Mike Gelatt, Revivo stepped up and drilled the shot into the net to advance the Eagles.

Liberty (10-5-3) looked to be in control of the penalty shootout after making its first three and Winthrop missing two of the three. The first miss by Winthrop was a save by Andrew Madero and Michael Luk followed with a goal. Then on the Eagles third shot, Miquel Casajuana hit the post and the Flames were leading 3-1. Mitrovich stepped up and saved the next one that was followed by a crossbar shot from Karol Chorak. Mat- thew Skonicki stepped up and made his and it left it up to Mitrovich to send the penalty kicks into extras. The senior keeper drilled the ball into the net to make it 3-3. Each team made their shots in the sixth round.

Winthrop took a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute when Revivo headed home a free kick service from Otto Loewy. Loewy served the ball into the box, where Revivo headed it at the back post from about eight yards away into the left corner.

Then Liberty caught the Eagles sleeping in the 86th minute to tie the game. After a Winthrop foul on the outside about 30 yards out, Winthrop was slow getting marked up. Liberty's Joshua Boateng took advantage and passed the ball over to Cameron Chastain, who was standing on top of the 18-yard box. Chastain took a one-touch shot and drilled it into the lower left corner for the goal.

Mitrovich and Madero each finished the game with five saves.