STANDISH, Maine — U-32 graduate Noah Elmore scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute Wednesday, lifting the Saint Joseph’s men’s soccer team to a 3-2 semifinal victory over Norwich.
The Monks eliminated the Cadets for the third time in the last four years during Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoff action. Elmore faced off against another former U-32 player, Dashiell Vermilya, and the Monks continued to be Norwich’s kryptonite after falling behind in the 60th minute.
Jackson Taylor tied the game in the 64th minute and Elmore scored the game-winning goal for the second straight match, burying a shot in the 78th minute. St. Joseph’s (16-1-3) will travel to play Johnson & Wales (16-2-2) in the GNAC championship. The Wildcats are 10-0-1 in conference action. The winner will automatically advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Wednesday’s semifinal between the No. 2 Monks and No. 3 Cadets was a wild affair, with Saint Joseph’s erasing one-goal deficits on two occasions. Elmore’s polished finishing was the difference in the end, marking the latest feat in a storied career. He was a three-year starter at U-32, leading the Raiders to victory during the 2015 Division II championship. Elmore is now a 5-foot-8, 160-pound junior for the Monks, and his penchant for scoring timely goals hasn’t stopped.
As a freshman Elmore tallied five goals and six assists for the Monks, who finished at 19-1-1 after losing to Tufts in a penalty-kick shootout in the NCAA second round. The Monks gave up their only goal of the season in a 2-1 victory over Mitchell in the NCAA opener. Elmore played in all 21 games that season, earning GNAC Rookie of the Week honors. He recorded four goals and two assists last year. He made 13 starts and played in 20 games. Elmore started in five matches this season and played in every game.
During Wednesday’s match Norwich sophomore Amerle Nemeye and freshman Joseph Thongsythavong both scored, but it wasn’t enough as the Monks advanced to their fourth straight GNAC Championship.
Nemeye opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a penalty kick goal after Saint Joseph’s was whistled for a hand ball in the box. The goal was Nemeye’s 10th of the season. Saint Joseph’s leveled the score in the 38th minute, with Cody Elliott scoring on an assist from Kuma Onyejose. Norwich regained the lead in the 60th minute when Thongsythavong scored on a rebound off an initial shot from Nemeye for his 11th goal of the season.
Saint Joseph’sneeded just over four minutes to tie the game again on a penalty-kick goal of its own. Taylor scored after NU was whistled for a hand ball inside the 18-yard box. Elmore scored in the 78th minute, capitalizing on a Norwich defensive miscue to seal the victory.
Norwich outshot Saint Joseph’s 10-8, markin the second time this season the Cadets outshot the Monks in Standish. The Cadets also accounted for three of the 10 goals scored against SJC this fall. Norwich reached the 10-win plateau for the 14th straight season and also advanced to the GNAC semifinal round for the 16th straight season. Those are both the longest streaks in the conference.
Wednesday’s game marked the final games in the collegiate careers for Norwich’s Andrew Kalombo, Julius Davis, Julio Arreola, Josue Lopez, Alex Arvizo and Vermilya.