FROSTBURG, Md. -- York College freshman Brendan Saberton scored 3:33 into the second overtime to lift the Spartan men's soccer team to a wild 4-3 double-overtime victory at Frostburg State Thursday night in a Capital Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal.
The Spartans advanced to the CAC championship match, where they will play host to Mary Washington for the title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Spartans will look to win their fourth straight conference tournament title.
As dramatic as the contest was, it was chippy and physical from the start. The game was marred by a combined 25 fouls and nine yellow cards.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when the senior duo of Cody Pearson and Antonio Bua combined to give York the early lead. Pearson knocked a pass to Bua, who drove home a shot into the far corner past a diving Abiye Jack for the goal.
The Spartans added to the lead less than six minutes later when senior Matt DeLong banged in a loose ball off a Bobcat defender for the 2-0 Spartan lead. The goal was DeLong's first of the year.
Just more than two minutes later, the Bobcats cut the deficit to 2-1. Ryan Russell hit a free kick that Chris Jones tipped in for the goal.
Bua pushed the York lead to 3-1 20 minutes into the second half when he collected a ball in the box and blasted a shot into the left-side
The Bobcats were awarded a questionable penalty kick on a Spartan foul in the box. Shawn Baker converted the chance, trimming York's lead to 3-2 with 17:27 left in regulation.
With the clock ticking toward triple zeroes, the Bobcats pressed the Spartans. That pressure paid off with a header by Pablo Torrano that was not originally called a goal. After a lengthy delay, the officials awarded the Bobcats a goal and overtime would follow one minute later.
Both teams had a pair of shots in the first overtime, with each goalie recording a save.
Saberton's game winner would come off a pass from junior Daniel Baxter, who sent a cross at the top of the six-yard box, which Saberton finished. The 3:33 second-overtime shift was Saberton's first action since suffering a leg injury in early October.
The Spartans finished the game with a 17-16 margin in total shots and a 10-8 edge in shots on goal. The Bobcats held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Senior goalie Jesse Derksen, a Susquehannock High School graduate, earned the win and improved to 13-2-2. Derksen had five saves.
The Bobcats fell to 12-2-4.
The Spartans (13-5-2), meanwhile, will face the Eagles in the conference championship game for the second time. The Spartans downed Mary Washington 3-0 on Nov. 4, 2006 in York's third CAC championship.
The Eagles (12-7-1) have won a conference-high eight men's soccer titles, with their last championship coming in 2001. The Eagles won the first seven titles in conference history. The Spartans snapped that seven-year run when they won the 1998 title. York has won six titles and will look to tie Salisbury for second on the all-time CAC men's soccer championship list.
Mary Washington beat Salisbury in the other CAC semifinal on Thursday, 1-0. Salisbury fell to 10-6-2.
Game time for Saturday's championship clash will be determined Friday.