6:00: Morning News

Marshall falls to FAU in C-USA semifinal, 3-1

— By David Walsh

Marshall’s bid for a three-peat in Conference USA soccer won’t happen.

No. 6 Florida Atlantic knocked off the No. 2 Thundering Herd, 3-1, Friday night in the C-USA Tournament semifinals at Transamerica Field in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte is host for the tournament.

FAU advanced with a 5-3 decision over the host 49ers in the first round after the teams battled to a 0-0 double-overtime draw. Friday’s victory is just the second postseason win for the Owls. They will take on No. 4 seed Kentucky for the title Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats blanked top seed and C-USA regular-season champion Florida International, 3-0, in the first semifinal.

Tom Abraham scored at 18:07 to give FAU a 1-0 lead. Ivan Mykhailenko followed at 75:08 to put the Owls up 2-0. Vinicius Fernandes got the Herd within one at 2-1 with a tally at 79:53.

However, FAU countered right back with a goal by Theodor Ce’Lestin Jr. at 80:20 and the Owls kept the Herd at bay until the end. Marshall won the league tournament two years ago and the league outright last season since there was no tournament due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

FAU goalkeeper Neil Strauber finished with four saves. Oliver Semmle had one for the Herd.

FAU and Marshall are now tied at 6-6-1 all-time in this series.

Marshall is now 11-3-3 and FAU is 9-6-3. The Herd now waits until next week to find out about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Marshall is defending College Cup champion.

In the first semifinal, Kentucky got all its goals in the second half and goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner registered his 11th shutout of the season. He is C-USA Goalkeeper of the Year. Luke Andrews scored once and Daniel Evans twice for the Wildcats.

For Marshall, midfielder Pedro Dolabella was named the league’s Midfielder of the Year, Offensive MVP and shared Co-Midfielder of the Year with teammate Vitor Dias. Dolabella led the Herd with 10 goals and 26 points. Awards were determined by a vote of league coaches.

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