HOBOKEN, N.J. — The Catholic University men's soccer team's historic season came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals fell to No. 19 Johns Hopkins, 2-0.
In a game that saw both teams press forward and create chances, two goals in four first-half minutes from Axel Whamond proved to be the difference.
Catholic started the game the better of the two sides, earning two corners within the first five minutes. The Cardinals couldn't take their early chances, however, and Johns Hopkins grew into the game.
After a Gordie Bernlohr shot was blocked, the Blue Jays countered quickly down the right flank before Johnathan Cui produced a perfect low cross that was turned in by Whamond in the 17th minute.
The second Blue Jay goal came in similar fashion, with Johns Hopkins attacking down the right and Whamond finishing from a low, driven cross.
Catholic came inches away from an immediate response when Darius Siahpoosh fired a powerful effort from outside the penalty area that struck off of the left upright just about a minute after the second Blue Jay goal.
The Cardinals looked dangerous on set pieces throughout the contest and nearly broke through on consecutive corners in the 32nd minute. Owen Maher rose highest both times, but the Blue Jays were able to scramble the ball clear twice and were the beneficiary of a goal-line clearance on Maher's second attempt.
Catholic left everything on the field in the second half, pushing numbers forward and again creating some formidable opportunities. Senior Nate Perrins looked the most likely Cardinal to score and forced Alex Morgret into his best save of the match as the goalkeeper pushed a low shot around his right hand post late in the second half to preserve the Blue Jay clean sheet.
Perrins led the Cardinals with five shots in 27 minutes of action as a substitute. As a team, Catholic outshot the Blue Jays, mustering 20 total attempts toward goal.
As he had been throughout the first two rounds of the tournament, Austin Coron was immense again today, this time registering eight saves. The goalkeeper produced 16 saves across the three NCAA Tournament contests.
With the victory, Johns Hopkins advances to play No. 4 Stevens in the Elite Eight after the Ducks defeated No. 14 SUNY Cortland this afternoon in the other game of the sectional, 2-1.
The Cardinals can hang their heads high after a brilliant and record-breaking season. The team produced a perfect 7-0-0 record in Landmark Conference play and reached the second weekend of NCAA Tournament play for the first time in program history.
In his 16 years at Catholic, head coach Travis Beauchamp has led his team to the big dance seven times and has now won three tournament games. Sophomore Domenic Caltabiano also broke the program's single-season assist record, providing 10 helpers throughout the campaign.