WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bucknell men's soccer team was two minutes and thirty-one seconds away from a berth in the Patriot League championship game, but Jake Garcia scored late in regulation and again in the second overtime period to send top-seeded American on to the title match with a 2-1 victory over the Bison at Reeves Field.
It was a tough end to the season for the Bison (7-11-2), who made a spirited push late in year just to make the Patriot League Tournament. They won two of their final three games of the regular-season, both coming on the road against playoff-bound opponents, and then Bucknell knocked out fourth-seeded Boston University in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, also on the road.
Of Bucknell's five losses to Patriot League foes, including this one, all five were decided by one goal, with three of them coming in overtime.
Bucknell was trying to replicate the 2014 postseason, when it won the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 5 seed. Faced with a quick turnaround after the Tuesday-night game in Boston followed by an 11 a.m. start here in D.C., they got out to a great start against the regular-season champion Eagles.
The Bison got on the board just 9:06 into the match through their top scorer, Sebastiaan Blickman. Dany Teran played a long ball over the top of the defense, and Blickman made a great play to chest the ball down on the run and quickly fire a shot into the left side of the net.
It was Blickman's 11th goal of the season, which is tied for 11th-most in program history.
Bucknell held a 6-4 shot advantage at the halftime interlude, but the Bison would not take another shot, as the Eagles sent waves of pressure in desperate search for the equalizer.
Backed by goalkeeper Ryan Ott, who was terrific in just his fifth career start, the Bison defense held tight. Ott made three point-blank saves to keep it 1-0 in the later stages of the second half, as the Bison were content to defend and swat away hopeful balls into the penalty area.
American finally broke through in the 88th minute, when Garcia leapt high in the air to head home a cross from Panos Nakhid.
Ott had to make one more save before time expired -- his sixth of the half and eighth of the game -- to help force overtime.
The Eagles found the game-winner 2:22 into the second sudden-death overtime period. Joe Iraola's corner kick into the middle of the area was knocked forward by Chris Fanet, and Garcia punched it in from close range.
American finished with a 22-6 shot advantage and a 12-1 edge in corner kicks. Ott finished with the eight saves, while American's Lucas Belanger had one.
American will face the winner of the Loyola/Colgate semifinal game in Sunday's championship.