By: Andrew Korba
SAN ANTONIO (Tx.)--Senior Cameron Johnson scored in the 82nd minute to give the No. 5 Ohio Northern men's soccer team a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Montclair State (N.J.), Sunday evening in the NCAA III Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Polar Bears are now 24-2-0 on the season, while the Redhawks conclude their season at 19-3-1.
This will be the first trip in school history to the Final Four for the Polar Bears.
Northern will now face Williams (Mass.) at 1:30 pm CST in the NCAA III Tournament Semifinals at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas on November 30.
Johnson's goal came at the 82:15 mark when senior Nate Bascom dribbled towards the middle and found Johnson who buried it in the back of the net.
"Nate (Bascom) fed me a great ball in the middle," Johnson said. "I owed it to him to finish. When the ball went into the net, it was an unbelievable feeling."
Freshman Keegan Ross also notched an assist on the evening for his 53rd point of the season, which a new ONU single season record.
The Redhawks fired a couple of shots in the opening minutes, but they were blocked by the Polar Bears.
Northern had a chance in the 13th minute when Bascom sent a cross through the goalie box, but nobody was there to receive it.
Freshman Shintaroh Itoh fired a shot in the 15th minute, but Montclair State goalie Anthony Rogic made a diving save.
In the 31st minute, senior Austin Windsor served a ball into the box that Bascom headed, but Rogic was able to make the save again.
Bascom had another chance at the 33:44 mark, when he dribbled around the defense towards the middle, but his shot was saved.
In the 39th minute, freshman Keegan Ross fired a shot that Rogic deflected out and junior Michael Grossnickle was there for the rebound, but his attempt was also saved.
In the final minute of the first half, junior Stephen Perkins took a pass from Bascom and rocketed a shot that hit the post.
The Polar Bears got on the board first at the 51:20 mark, when Ross dribbled around the defense and sent a cross that Grossnickle put in the net.
The Redhawks were able to answer back in the 58th minute when Almir Batista passed the ball through the defense and found Matthew Deziel who buried his shot in the back of the net to tie it up at 1-1.
"Montclair State is a talented team," said head coach Brent Ridenour. "Defensively, we wanted a shutout, but to limit them to one goal is something we are proud of."
The Polar Bears looked to take the lead back in the 61st minute, when freshman Chase Mueller sent a ball into the box that Perkins headed toward the goalie, but it was saved.
ONU had another chance in the 71st minute when Ross fed it to Johnson.
Johnson then passed to Perkins who was unable to get much on his shot and Rogic hauled it in for the save.
The Polar Bears missed a golden opportunity in the 74th minute when Bascom fired a shot that was saved and deflected back out.
Johnson was right there on the rebound and his shot was blocked by the Redhawk defense.
ONU then took the lead in the 82nd minute on Johnson's goal and Montclair State couldn't get anything going in the closing minutes, giving the Polar Bears the win.
Senior goalie Mac Church made three saves on the night and improves to 24-2 on the season.
Rogic made 12 saves for Montclair State and falls to 19-3-1.
The Polar Bears held a 25-18 advantage in shots and a 15-4 advantage on goal.
"This win is great for the region, conference and program," Ridenour added. "We have worked hard all season to get here. We look forward to coming back to San Antonio in a couple of weeks."