NORFOLK, VA - The ODU Soccer Monarchs claimed the 2014 Conference USA Men's Soccer Championship title behind the goals from Sidney Rivera and Geoffrey Hill for a 2-1 win over South Carolina Sunday afternoon at the ODU Soccer Complex., before a crowd of 1,139.
The C-USA crown is the first for the Monarchs who receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Official selections and matchups for the 48-team field will be announced on Monday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET on NCAA.com. The title is also the first C-USA championship for ODU in any sport.
“It was an emotional game, the final always is. It’s never an easy game and I was never comfortable, even with a two-goal lead," said ODU's head coach Alan Dawson, the nation's 13th active winningest coach with 345 career wins. "I always felt that South Carolina could come back. They’ve been that sort of team all year and they proved it again today. It wasn’t comfortable the last 15 minutes or so at 2-1. I am glad we won and I’m looking forward to the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully we can get a home game. I would love to play at home again, that’s something that would be very special. I think our RPI is pretty good and I think the NCAA will give us a good draw. I know my guys will be pumped up for it. The pressure is off now that we won the conference, so now we will go into the NCAA Tournament feeling good.”
Dawson will take his Monarchs to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament and 11th in the last 13.
ODU opened the scoring with a goal in the 19th minute. Graduate forward Christian Schroeer dribble down the right flank and served a long ball in to the opposite side of the goal. Junior defender Michael Nelson controlled the feed and sent a short pass inside the six-yard box to a waiting Sidney Rivera who one-timed it home for a 1-0 lead.
In the 75th minute, junior defender David Macsicza stripped the ball from a South Carolina attacker near midfield and dribbled up the middle, feeding a pass to the left to junior midfielder Geoffrey Hill. From just inside the 18-yard box, Hill sent a shot far post into bottom corner of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
South Carolina cut the deficit in half with eight minutes to play, as sophomore midfielder Kurtis Turner sent a long ball down the left side. Junior forward Wesley Eads ran on and fed the ball across the goal to junior midfielder Jeffrey Torda who put it in the net for the Gamecocks.
Rivera was tabbed the C-USA Championship Offensive MVP while Macsicza earned Defensive MVP accolades. Rivera netted four goals during the tournament for the Monarchs, including two game-winners in the three games and has now scored six goals in the last five matches, including three game-winners.
C-USA Men's Soccer All-Tournament Team Offensive MVP - Sidney Rivera, Old Dominion Defensive MVP - David Macsicza, Old Dominion Ryan Condotta, Old Dominion Jesse Miralrio, Old Dominion Mahamoudou Kaba, South Carolina Mikkel Knudsen, South Carolina Braeden Troyer, South Carolina Marco Velez, South Carolina Kyle Parker, Charlotte Darion Copeland, UAB Rami Dajani, UAB