Freshman Vince Bennett scored on the fifth and final penalty kick to help Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) advance to the Liberty League championship game after tying No. 18 St. Lawrence University, 2-2, on Thursday night.
The Engineers, the second seed in the tournament, advance to play top-seeded Vassar in the final for the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, the Saints are now 13-2-3 overall on the season.
After both teams were successful on two of their first four penalty kicks, St. Lawrence senior JJ Tipton hit the right post and the ball was smothered by RPI goalkeeper Rob Dewald. Bennett followed with a shot past Saints' first-year goalkeeper Ryan Roethel for the victory.
In regulation, RPI's Matt Koziol put the Engineers ahead in the 17th minute when his bicycle kick from eight yards out eluded Saints' starter in goal, senior Nate Goss-Woliner.
The Saints tied the score in the second half when senior co-captain Alex Laird finished a pair of perfectly placed passes in the 76th minute. Senior Brian Gilloran started the play with a kick from the left sideline across the box to first-year student Ryan Grant. Grant touched the ball to the middle of the box, where Laird drove it into the goal.
RPI regained the lead in the 81st minute when Ryan Gracy beat Saints' goalkeeper sophomore Aaron Costello, who came in as relief for Goss-Woliner. It took the Saints less than two minutes later to tie the score when Tipton drilled a left footed shot to the opposite corner.
RPI's keeper Dewald came up with a big save with 3:30 left in the second overtime, stopping Grant at close range. He finished with five saves in the game for the Engineers, while Goss-Woliner made one save for the Saints.
The Saints held a 21-8 advantage in shots and a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.