After Christopher Newport's Division III NCAA tournament soccer match against Emory Saturday afternoon, the scoreboard at the Captains' home field read 2-0 in favor of the visiting team. But that didn't keep the Captains from celebrating.
That's because CNU is a host site for a sectional in the tournament rounds of 16 and 8, but the Captains weren't considered the home team while facing the higher-seeded Eagles.
Goals by senior sweeper Bryan Davis and freshman midfielder Nao Masuda provided CNU's scoring, and fill-in freshman keeper Justin Wolfe continued his remarkable NCAA tournament run, posting his second straight shutout.
At 3 p.m. today, the Captains (17-4-3) will battle Messiah (19-2-2), a 1-0 double overtime winner against Montclair State on Saturday. At stake is a berth in the Final Four, which is Dec. 5-6.
This is CNU's first trip to the Elite Eight since 2000.
"It's huge because these are our people and you see the support," said Captains coach Steve Shaw, commenting on the chance to play at home. "Most teams love their field, but we really love our field."
The Eagles (16-2-1) came in ranked No. 4 in the nation, but didn't create any real offensive firepower until they fell behind 2-0 with 111/2 minutes left in the contest.
The Eagles then mounted three offensive bursts, but Wolfe stopped them with three of his eight saves, including two beautiful leaping one-handed saves just seconds apart with 91/2 minutes left.
Three minutes later, Emory's Jordan Edelman blasted a shot into a crowd near the net that got knocked down and then with 4:25 left, Wolfe came out to challenge the Eagles' Patrick Carver and blocked his shot.
Wolfe had notched only six saves this season entering Saturday's game, having been pressed into starting action in the Captains' three NCAA tournament games because of an injury to junior keeper Matt Tengs.
"I was definitely nervous last weekend and today I was still nervous, but you have to just come out and play," Wolfe said.
"We stepped it up and they came at us hard because they needed a goal, but we played just as hard."
Emory outshot CNU 14-10, but Shaw thought the offensive opportunities the Captains created by aggressive play made the difference.
"They had some good chances, but we had some very good chances," Shaw said.
The Captains' first goal came on an unlikely scoring opportunity with 11:26 left in the first period.
Davis skimmed the ball into the goal from almost 40 yards away, seconds after Emory couldn't clear a stifled CNU corner kick.
The goal was only the second for Davis this season.
"(CNU defender) Kevin Greenberg got it out wide and I noticed there was no one out there. All my career I've had a knack for putting the ball in from 35 yards out and I just rapped it into the back of the net," noted Davis.
Masuda's third goal of the season came with 11:33 left in the game, providing the upset-minded Captains a valuable cushion.
He received the ball off a pass from Winston Mattheisen and drilled it past Emory keeper Jonathan Laycock from about 15 yards in front of the net.
"It's an amazing season," said Davis. "We lost in our conference final, but I would take this over any conference final."
CNU 2, EMORY 0Halftime — 1-0. Goals —Davis, Masuda. Assist — Mattheisen. Saves — Emory, Laycock 2; CNU, Wolfe 8, team 1. Records — Emory 16-2-1, CNU 17-4-3.