SALISBURY, Md. – It took less than three minutes of the Eastern men’s opening NCAA tournament match for opponents Stevens Tech to take a 1-0 lead. The remaining 87 minutes were too few for Eastern to catch up.
Stevens Tech midfielder Craig Moquin scored the game’s only goal on a breakaway, fed by forward Mike Kaiser in the game’s opening chaos.
Afterward, the game was played evenly with only a few good scoring chances for each team. Eastern goalkeeper Brandon Ziegler made several key saves, including punching a hard shot over the bar with 26 minutes left in the second half.
Eastern made three shots on goal in the second half, including a notable opportunity for sophomore forward Kieran Keelan with 16 minutes remaining. But Stevens Tech goalie Chris Celentano let nothing by.
The November 11 game, hosted by Salisbury University, featured two nationally ranked teams. Eastern was ranked 11th in the country at the end of the regular season, while the Stevens Tech Ducks were ranked 21st. After their victory over Eastern, Stevens Tech advanced to the Sweet 16.
Eastern’s leading scorer, PAC player of the year Daniel Carvalho, did not play due to a red card received at the end of the PAC championship game against Arcadia. Coach Mark Wagner also earned recognition as the PAC coach of the year.
The team will lose seven current seniors next season. Six of them, including Carvalho and Ziegler, were starters at the end of this year.
This was the team’s second NCAA playoff appearance and second first-round loss in three years. In 2003, they lost to Salisbury.