Simon Fraser University's march to the NCAA Division II men's soccer final was scuttled by the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals in the national semifinal played Thursday in Evans, Georgia.
SFU weathered an early opening salvo by Saginaw Valley with Blakely forced to make two saves in the first two minutes of the match at Blanchard Woods Park.
Saginaw's continued pressure was rewarded shortly afterward, when Zach Walega fired his sixth goal of the season into the upper right corner of the Clan net in the 14th minute.
Five minutes later, SFU got an opportunity to tie the score, but Carlo Basso's shot hit the goalpost.
The Clan pushed for an equalizer late in the match. Roman Doutkevich had a shot on goal blocked, while Adam Staschuk's shot off the rebound was also stopped by Saginaw keeper Jason Wise. Both SFU chances came in the 40th minute.
Saginaw Valley opened the second half in similar fashion, counter-attacking off a Clan corner kick in the 51st minute with Lachlan Savage's 11th tally of the year.
Four minutes after that, Zack Cooney caught the Clan, still reeling from the 2-0 deficit, feathering a through ball down the left side to Great Lakes Intercollegiate offensive player of the year, Zach Myers, who finished the play off with his 17th counter of the year.
In the 58th minute, Basso stole the ball in the Saginaw Valley back end and scored to close the deficit to 3-1.
SFU pressed forward on the attack, but shots on goal by Ryan Dhillon and Michael Winter were either saved or blocked by Wise.
Justin Wallace also had a shot on goal for the Clan saved in the 84th minute by Wise.
The loss snapped a 15-game unbeaten streak for the Clan. It was the 14th consecutive victory for the 18-2-4 Cardinals.
SFU had a game-high 15 shots directed on goal, but only five hit the target. Dhillon led the Clan in shots on goal with two.
"We're gutted," said a disappointed SFU head coach Alan Koch. "The history we made today won't sink in for a while.
"Saginaw Valley was the better team in the first 15 minutes. When they scored, they kept on playing ... They made it very, very difficult to get behind them. It would have been nice to do it in our first run."
Saginaw Valley will move on to meet South region champion and last year's national finalist Lynn University in the NCAA final to be played on Saturday.
Lynn University, a four-time NCAA national finalist and 2003 Div. II champion with an unbeaten 22-0-1 record, defeated Mercyhurst 4-1 in an earlier semifinal at Blanchard Woods on Thursday.
Lynn, the Florida Sunshine State Conference champions, lost in last year's national final in overtime to Fort Lewis, Colorado.
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