Heading into the match-up, the Emerson men were seeded fifth in the GNAC Tournament.,After 19 games spanning more than 28 hours of play time, the Emerson men saw their season come down to just one kick. One kick to seal their fate and one kick to end their season.
Heading into the match-up, the Emerson men were seeded fifth in the GNAC Tournament. The fourth-seeded Suffolk University Rams would host the Emerson men at Dilboy Memorial Stadium in Somerset for the chance to advance and square off against the top-seeded Johnson and Wales Wildcats.
Emerson entered the bout tied with Suffolk with a 5-3 GNAC record. Suffolk had the upper hand in the team's regular season match-up, as they won 4-2.
The Lions matched the Rams kick for kick in the first half, ending the half tied with one goal each. Emerson would draw first blood in the second quarter with a Chris Mathias shot finding the net just underneath the crossbar. Emerson's lead, however, would not stand for long.
Suffolk's Nick Celia set himself up for a volley that found the twine and tied the game at 2-2.
Unable to score again in regulation, the Emerson men were forced into crunch time and overtime. With every kick a potential game winner, the Emerson men played with an intensity appropriate of their namesake.
Sophomore Steve Francis and junior Ryan Poliseno each were issued yellow cards within ten minutes of each other in the second half.
Emerson's physical play set the team apart from many of its GNAC opponents throughout the regular season and helped provide many scoring opportunities. In the end, however, Emerson could not capitalize on scoring chances in the second half, sending the game into overtime. On the Rams' only corner kick of the game, Suffolk's Babacar Ndour was able to find some daylight and hit the back of the net, putting an end to the Lions' season.
The Emerson men finished with an overall record of 12-6-1 and a GNAC record of 5-3, both of which were much improved from last year's dismal season. Coach Jared Scarpaci said he was disappointed by his team's loss, but added that few teams get to end their season on a positive note.
"It's always difficult when the season ends because it's so anti-climatic," Scarpaci said. "We had a great season and we ended a great season on a loss."
Co-Captain Brad Fyffe agreed that the season, as a whole, was still more of a positive than a negative.
"[The season] was definitely a success. I'm going to have to give credit to the seniors on the team, including the captains," Fyffe said.
Coach Scarpaci said that he will especially miss this year's senior class. This is the first class Scarpaci has coached for four years.
"There was a special bond between us," he said.
He also remembers the days before Rotch Field was around for the team and other student athletes.
"It wasn't always the beauties of Rotch," he said.
The Emerson men can take solace in the fact that they have worked to turn the team around and improve upon its play as the season progressed. In the end, though, as the Lions experienced, often it all comes down to one play.
"It was tough to go out the way we did," Fyffe said. "We went out strong and we played our hearts out."