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The University of Hartford men's soccer team will make its first America East Championship game appearance in 12 years, as Atobra Ampadu provided the only offense in a 1-0 triumph over top seeded Boston University (9-9-0) at Nickerson Field in the semifinals on Wednesday night. The Hawks (8-8-4) advance to face the second-seeded Stony Brook Seawolves on Sunday at 6 p.m. on Long Island.
“Obviously it’s a great day for University of Hartford soccer,” said head coach Tom Poitras. “It’s a big step for the program to get to the finals. We went into Baltimore and played against the defending champs and ended up on the positive side of that. Then on to Boston and the regular season champs and our guys worked really hard, got a great goal and defended really well after that.”
Ampadu sent a hard shot through traffic that found the back of the net for the lone goal in the game. Classmate Necas Collins initiated the offense with a pass downfield finding David Bernhardsson, who then pushed a cross to Ampadu. After collecting the ball, Ampadu blasted a shot that squeaked through a pair of defenders and evaded Terriers' keeper Nick Thomson to his right and slipped about a foot inside the left post. The goal for the midfielder was the fourth of his rookie campaign.
Just minutes after the Hawks’ score, Dominique Badji had two tremendous attempts at scoring, with both being thwarted by the metal frame of the goal. The first attempt ricocheted off the front edge of the right post and slowly dribbled across the goal line before being cleared out by the defensive line. The second came less than two minutes later when Badji fired a long shot that careened off the crossbar to outside of the 18-yard box.
Boston University finished with the advantage in the shots column, totaling 14 to the Hawks’ six. Twelve of the Terriers’ attempts came in the second half with the majority taken from beyond the 18-yard box as the home team became desperate to put the equalizing notch on the scoreboard. Thomson finished with one save while the Hawks' Luke Citriniti was not forced into action en route to his sixth shutout this season.