Firebirds Fall, 3-0 to Top-Seeded LIU Post in East Coast Conference Finals

Alvarez made two quality saves to hold LIU Post scoreless in the 2nd half.
Alvarez made two quality saves to hold LIU Post scoreless in the 2nd half.

BROOKVILLE, NY – The No. 3 seed University of the District of Columbia was defeated by No. 1 seed LIU Post, 3-0 in the East Coast Conference Finals on Friday afternoon at Pioneer Soccer Field.

The Firebirds' 2017 season could come to a close with today's loss, but not before UDC tied for 3rd in program history with 14 wins, set a new school record with six conference wins, and advanced to the Finals in the school's first ever ECC Championship Tournament appearance. UDC is No. 7 in the last NCAA Division II East Region poll, and the top-six advance to the NCAA Tournament.

LIU Post, the No. 1 ranked team in the East Region and No. 5 ranked team nationally, has now won three straight ECC Championships. The Pioneers improved to 16-0-2 on the season with this win and will likely earn a top seed and the right to host the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament.

UDC out-shot LIU Post, 19-14, including an 8-4 disparity in the 2nd half, and among its seven shots on goal, two of them hit off the post.  Meanwhile, the Pioneers took advantage of the wind at their back and three defensive breakdowns in the first half to open up a 3-0 lead at halftime, and they simply cruised to victory in the 2nd half.

Although the Firebirds controlled possession for most of the opening 12 minutes of action and out-shot LIU Post, 4-2 in that duration, the Pioneers got on board first at the 12:31 mark when Nico Kjaer Anderson flicked the ball over the head of charging goalkeeper Joao Brusamolin, and Lukas Ostermann one-timed a header into the open net.

Anderson was at it again about 17 minutes later as he slipped by a UDC defender towards the middle of the field into the box, and fired a shot from about 15 yards out for an unassisted goal to make it 2-0.

Undeterred, UDC went right back on attack following Anderson's goal and earned a corner kick right at the 32-minute mark. The corner kick set piece resulted in a shot high by Victor Salinas Furio, and moments later, senior forward Raphael Pacano's shot was blocked. Following Pacano's blocked shot, the Pioneers marched down the field and scored their 3rd goal of the day via a one-touch finish in the box on a loose ball by Vittorio Argeri after a deflection by Ostermann.

The Firebirds took four more shots before the end of the half, including a header by the ECC Offensive Player of the Year, Gabriel Torres, which clanged off of the right post before it was cleared by a LIU Post defender. LIU Post took a 3-0 cushion into halftime.

In the second half, First Team All-ECC selection Michael Agboola fired a shot in the 67th minute that hit the right post and skidded out of bounds. UDC put three other shots on goal, but ECC Goalkeeper of the Year Oliver Hessner Hansen was up to the task, making three saves in the second half to preserve the shutout.

Brusamolin made one save and allowed three goals in the loss as he finished his sophomore campaign with a record of 8-5. Senior goalkeeper Ever Guevera Alvarez relieved Brusamolin in the second half and made two saves – including a save on a shot from point blank range – and held the Pioneers scoreless in the closing period. Ostermann had seven total saves in the complete game victory.