SALEM, Mass. - Joao DeSouza (Lowell, Mass.) converted the final penalty attempt, propelling the #2 Salem State Vikings to a (5-4 in penalties) win over the #6 Bridgewater Bears on Friday evening at Alumni Field. The Vikings will advance to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship to face #1 Framingham State on Sunday at noon. The game ended in regulation tied 3-3 and after goalie Chris Jimenez (Nashua, N.H.) made a stop on Bridgewater State's first shot, DeSouza sent Salem State to its second championship game in three years by beating Bears' keeper Nate Morgado (Dartmouth, Mass.).
In a tightly played first half the Vikings struck first in the 18th minute, as Nicholas Ramos (Middleboro, Mass.) volleyed in a ball low giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Seconds later, the Bears raced down the field and Will Halben (Attleboro, Mass.) passed it to Justin Borges (Milford, Mass.) for a shot that bounced off the crossbar, tying the game 1-1. This was the first goal allowed by Salem State in four games.
In the 40th minute, Lucas Amaral (Peabody, Mass.) lobbed a pass downfield to Grace Dos Santos (Brockton, Mass.). Morgado was frozen in his tracks as Dos Santos chipped the ball high over his head to lead 2-1.
Bridgewater State tied it again in the 42nd minute when Borges passed it to Halben who then took a shot near the post that soared over Jimenez and into the back of the net.
At the half, the game was even 2-2. The Vikings attempted nine shots and all were on target, while the Bears took five shots with three on target.
In the 61st minute, Matthew Hauntsman (Milford, NH) picked up a foul in the box which resulted in a penalty kick for the Bears. Borges took the penalty and shot it low into the right side of the net putting Bridgewater State ahead 3-2.
Salem State tied the score again when Amaral took a corner in the 70th minute. Amaral converted off the corner as the ball found its way into the net making it a 3-3 game.
After 90 minutes, the game was forced into extra time tied 3-3. In the second half of extra time, the Vikings took a corner as Patrick Filetti (Newburyport, Mass.) had a chance to score, but his shot was deflected.
In penalties, Jimenez made a crucial save on the first attempt of Liam Lenihan (Rockland, Mass.). Salem State made all of their penalties including DeSouza's final penalty.
Goalkeeper Morgado took the loss finishing with nine saves and three goals allowed. Jimenez finished with one save and two goals allowed. Hauntsman had one save and one goal allowed.