Greenville, S.C. – (Box Score) Fourth Seed Keiser (Fla.) knocks off top seed Missouri Valley, 14-12, to advance to the 2017 NAIA Invitational championship game Friday at Sirrine Stadium. With the win the Seahawks improve to 9-1 while the Vikings finished 14-2.
It was a back and forth battled right from the start as the two teams traded possessions. Keiser got on the board first as Eddie Grieco scored an unassisted goal to give the Seahawks an early 1-0 lead. Missouri Valley responded with back-to-back goals from Ryan Barnes and Greg Ferone to take a 2-1 lead with 3:00 remaining. The score remained that way until the final seconds of the quarter as Justin Flint put a shot into the back of the cage to even the score 2-2 after the first quarter.
Keiser scored back-to-back goals to start the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead five minutes into the second period. The two teams traded goals before Ryan Barnes scored an unassisted goal for the Vikings to cut the deficit to 5-4. The teams trade goals twice before the end of the half to give the Seahawks a 7-6 edge at the break.
The Seahawks came out strong in the second half scoring three straight goals, including a man-up goal to extend their lead to 10-6 with 4:45 remaining. Missouri Valley fought back as Barnes and Tyler Wilkinson added an unassisted goal to cut the deficit to 10-8 after the third quarter.
The two teams traded goals during the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Two minutes later Jacob Bomberry found Nolan Duncan cutting towards the cage for a goal to give Keiser a 12-9 lead with 10:01 remaining. The Seahawks added another goal, before Missouri Valley scored twice to cut the deficit to 13-11 with 4:12 remaining. Both teams added a goal in the final minutes for the 14-12 final.
Leading the way for Keiser was Flint who recorded a team-high six goals, while Bomberry added a goal and dished out three assists. Craig Marentette, Grieco, and Lucas Muzzey tallied three points apiece. Jake Paddon made a game-high 15 saves and scooped six ground balls in the win.
Barnes and Jake Berg led the way for Missouri Valley. Barnes netted six goals and finished with seven points, while Berg went 25-28 on the faceoff with 11 ground balls. Tyler Wilkinson had a pair of goals and a pair of assists, while Dan Block scooped 14 ground balls in the game.
Keiser advances to the championship game on Saturday against Reinhardt. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.