Lynchburg Topped by Catholic in NCAA First Round

Lynchburg Topped by Catholic in NCAA First Round

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --- The 2022 season came to an end for University of Lynchburg's men's soccer team Saturday evening in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Catholic on Christopher Newport University's CNU Soccer Stadium.

CUA took the lead in the first half on a header goal by Owen Maher and doubled the lead in the 63rd minute when Domenico Caltabiano right-footed a long shot from outside the box. The Cardinals out-shot Lynchburg by a 15-11 margin.

Lynchburg looked strong in the match's early going. The Hornets earned a corner kick in the sixth minute, and Kenny Robles sent a threatening ball toward the far post that Zach Whelan jumped to put his head on. At the last moment, though, CUA keeper Austin Coron punched the ball away from harm. Minutes later, Robles and Whelan forced the Catholic defense into action again with a flurry of shots. The first two were blocked, and Coron saved Whelan's third in the 20th minute to keep the sheet clean.

The rest of the half was controlled by the Cardinals. Catholic's Maher scored in the 31st minute, a header off a free kick that was slightly deflected by a Hornet defender jumping to block the shot, and CUA's defense allowed just one shot in the final 25 minutes of the half, a Jonathan Pulido direct kick that sailed just wide of the goal.

Lynchburg began the second half with renewed intensity, forcing Coron into action inside the box several times in the opening 10 minutes. The Cardinals' keeper saved a wicked Manzi Shalita shot in the 54th minute that stifled the Hornet attack, however, and CUA mounted more sustained pressure in the following sequences. That culminated with Jack McEvoy stepping in front of a Hornets pass, and he found Caltabiano, who drove a seam in the defense and delivered the long-shot goal that made it a 2-0 match.

The Hornets out-shot CUA by a 5-2 margin in the remaining time but couldn't find a goal and saw their season end in the NCAA first round for the second-consecutive season.

Lynchburg closes out the 2022 campaign with an 11-3-5 record and the program's 18th NCAA Division III tournament appearance.