Buccaneers play Colorado State-Pueblo Thursday at 5 p.m. EST

Official Florida FC

Barry University is back where it believes it belongs: The national semifinals.

The Buccaneers men’s soccer program advanced to Thursday’s Division II semifinal following a penalty kick win over Rollins on Nov. 20.

Barry Trailed for more than 70 minutes before Yamin Guana scored his first goal of the season in the 86th minute to equalize. Barry held on for another 24 minutes, despite being down a man following goalie Nils Buecheler’s 60th minute red card.

Barry (12-3-4) will play Colorado State-Pueblo (18-3-2) in Seattle at Interbay Stadium at 5 p.m. EST. Should the Buccaneers win, they would play either Lake Erie (12-7-5) or unbeaten Franklin Pierce (21-0-1) in Saturday’s national championship game.

Thursday will mark Barry’s fourth appearance in the national semifinals. It will be the program’s first since 2018.

Midfielder David Polanco leads the team with 10 goals. He assisted Nicholas Villalobos’ 70th minute goal in the come-from-behind win over Wingate in the Third Round on Nov. 18.

Barry has made a habit of conceding the first goal late in the season. The Buccaneers have allowed the opening goal in four of their last six matches. The two where that did not happen, Barry posted a clean sheet.

Goals always change games, but not allowing CSU-Pueblo to score the opener may be critical to Barry winning on Thursday afternoon.

The ThunderWolves have allowed only 18 goals in 23 matches this year – three of which came against the Colorado School of Mines in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament final where the ThunderWolves trailed thrice, but rallied to send the match into overtime.

Regardless, this has been quite the season for the Buccaneers and first-year head coach Petsa Ivanovic.

Barry was picked to finish sixth in the Sunshine State Conference in the preseason. Instead, the Buccaneers won the regular season title in one of the most challenging conferences in Division II soccer.

Just as impressive as their 6-1-3 record in the Sunshine State Conference may have been, the program’s performance away from Miami Shores also stands out. Barry is 8-0-2 in matches away from home this season.