CASTLETON, Vt. - Patrice Lumumba scored two goals, including the game-winner to lead fourth-seeded Lyndon to a 3-1 win over top-seeded Castleton in North Atlantic Conference men's soccer semifinal action at Spartan Stadium.
Lumumba tied the score at 1-1 during the 22nd minute, and provided what proved to be the game-winner just less than six minutes into the second half as the Hornets beat the Spartans for the first time since 1998. The Hornets lost to Castleton earlier this season on Sunday, Oct. 3 by a score of 3-0.
"Four weeks ago we weren't prepared to play and it resulted in a bad game," said Lyndon coach Pete Kellaway. "Today, we knew we were capable of playing with them and we were much better prepared."
Patrick Hilton served a free kick from 70 yards out, placing the ball just inside the 18-yard box to Phil Curll. Curll was able to misdirect the pass to Lumumba who beat Castleton keeper Andy LaCroix just inside the far post.
The final lead change came on an impressive individual effort by Lumumba along the left flank. After corralling a pass just past midfield, Lumumba carried up the left side line, faked a cross to the inside and once again beat LaCroix far post.
Castleton took the lead during the 18th minute on an unassisted tally from Anthony Buehler. Buehler settled a loose ball just outside the box, evaded a single defender and ripped a shot past the dive of Hornet keeper Jason Gray.
With the score tied 1-1, the Spartans had several opportunities to stretch the lead to 2-1, but Gray was outstanding in keeping the attack at bay. With 20 minutes remaining, Castleton's leading scorer Josh Costa found himself on the left edge of the box and ripped a shot that Gray easily turned away.
On the next Spartan possession Trevor Kotrady worked a give-and-go with Costa, setting the senior captain up for a point-blank attempt at the goal that Gray once again turned out of harm's way.
The Hornets tacked on an insurance tally in the 89th minute of play as Andrew O'Brien beat a drawn out LaCroix and finished just inside the crossbar of the open goal.
Gray finished with nine saves in the win, while LaCroix finished with four saves in the loss. Castleton falls to 13-6 with the loss, while the Hornets advance at 12-3-3.
Lyndon will travel to Thomas College Saturday to compete in their first-ever conference championship at 1 p.m.
"This week will be no different than any other week in terms of our preparation," said Kellaway. "We need to play our game and not someone else's. We'll let them adapt to the way we play - we approach each game with a blue collar mindset. We may have lost 2-1 up in overtime earlier this season, but I think who wins on Saturday will come down to who comes prepared."