By Official Florida FC
Nova Southeastern played with 10 for nearly an hour, but had enough resolve to defeat Chowan in the third round of the NCAA Division II tournament on Thursday afternoon in Young Harris, Georgia.
Michael Lawrence’s fifth goal of the season in the 51st minute was enough to lift the Sharks (16-3-2) to a 1-0 win over Chowan.
Nova is undefeated in its last 12 matches. The Sharks finished fourth in the Sunshine State Conference this fall and had to win the conference tournament to earn its invitation into the NCAA tournament.
“(That) was more adversity that the team has had to come over,” Nova Southeastern head coach Matt Watts said afterward. “They were phenomenal. They absolutely battled. Obviously, going down to 10 men after 20 minutes, or whatever it was, disrupted the flow of the game. We changed things a little bit. But, the boys dug in. A fantastic goal from Mikey and fantastic saves from Alberto (Ciroi) kept us in it.”
Lawrence scored in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament final win over Tampa and in a 3-2 win over Coker in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 19. Nova is 8-1-2 when the junior from Pembroke Pines scores a goal.
Chowan (13-4-2) ws held to just two shots on goal. Nova goalkeeper Alberto Ciroi was equal to both of them.
Nova Southeastern (16-3-2) advances to face Auburn University Montgomery in the regional final. Auburn Montgomery upset No. 1 seed Young Harris in penalty kicks on Thursday night to open up the bracket.
The Sharks and Warhawks have not played in 24 years. Nova Southeastern won that contest 1-0. If history repeats itself, Nova Southeastern will be in the national semifinals.