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The University of Scranton Athletics

CHAMPS! Strong Defensive Effort Carries Men's Soccer Past ETown in Landmark Title Game, 1-0

Photo by: ZJ Morse
Photo by: ZJ Morse

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – The No. 4 seed University of Scranton men's soccer team limited No. 2 seed Elizabethtown to just three shots and used a first half goal from freshman Gavin Scavino (Succasunna, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's) to notch a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays in Saturday's Landmark Conference title game at Ira R. Herr Field.

This marks the Royals' third Landmark title and the first since 2016. In fact, each of Scranton's previous two titles have also won been at ETown.

Head coach Matt Pivirotto's program is also the second No. 4 seed to win the conference championship and the first since Catholic did so in 2010.

Scranton is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016 and the 17th time in program history.

Senior center back Brendan King (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) helped lead the Royals to a pair of 1-0 shutout victories in the Landmark Tournament and earned MVP honors.

The two teams battled to a defensive stalemate in the early stages of the first half as neither side was able to register a shot until junior Anthony Rizzi (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield) sent one just wide for the Royals in the 10th minute. Rizzi's shot in the 18th minute was turned away by Blue Jays' goalie Kelvin Del Cid and Royals' senior keeper Aidan Hartey (Elkins Park, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) made a save of his own in the 30th minute when he denied Pedro Guizardi. Following another save by Del Cid in the 35th minute, the Royals struck just over a minute later for a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore Seamus O'Keefe (West Newbury, Mass./Pentucket Regional) gained possession of the ball near midfield, sent a pass to freshman Justin Curran (Media, Pa./The Shipley School) who gave it right back to O'Keefe and the latter found Scavino who slotted it home past a charging Del Cid with a tick over 10 minutes to play in the first half. The goal was Scavino's third of the season with two having come in his last four games.

Holding on to a 1-0 advantage, the Royals were able to limit the Blue Jays to just one shot over the final 45 minutes which came on an attempt from Ryan Hepler that was wide of the target in the 53rd minute.

The game was a physical affair throughout as there were a combined four yellow cards and 38 fouls.

Scranton held an 8-3 shot advantage and Hartey made one save to notch his seventh shutout of the season, which is tops in the Landmark Conference.

Rizzi paced the Royals with three shots on the day.

The 2022 NCAA Division III Field of 64 will be announced in a live selection show on Monday afternoon on with air time slated for 1:30 p.m.