Billikens Top La Salle, Earn Spot in A-10 Title Match
DAYTON, Ohio – Saint Louis sophomore midfielder David Graydon and junior forward Kingsley Bryce each recorded a goal and an assist to help top-seeded Saint Louis post a 2-1 victory against No. 4-seed La Salle Friday night in a semifinal match at the Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Soccer Championship in Dayton, Ohio.
The Billikens advance to the A-10 title game against No. 2 seed George Mason on Sunday. The winner receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. Kickoff is scheduled for noon (CT). The match will be streamed free of charge on the A-10 Digital Network, accessible off the Championship Central web page.
“It was a typical postseason semifinal match with two teams slugging it out,” SLU head coach Mike McGinty said. “It was a great soccer match and I have to give credit to La Salle for the way they played. Same for my guys, I was proud with how we played.
“It should be a great game Sunday with two teams going for a trophy," McGinty said. "George Mason is strong team, they are in the finals for a reason. They are well-balanced all over the field.”
Saint Louis (14-4-2) got on the board in the 19th minute against La Salle. Kingsley Bryce sent a ball into the box from the right flank. Robert Kristo’s header was deflected by the La Salle keeper, and Graydon pounced on the rebound and buried into the open net for the 1-0 Billiken lead.
For the Billikens’ next goal, it was Bryce who was the beneficiary of a Graydon pass. Graydon slotted a through ball to a streaking Bryce, who ran in all alone and finished past the La Salle goalie to make it 2-0 early in the second half.
However, La Salle answered just two minutes later with a header off a set piece, making the score 2-1.
The Billiken defense, anchored by A-10 Defender of the Year Anthony Manning, held off the Explorers the rest of the way and the Billikens posted the 2-1 victory.
SLU keeper Nick Shackelford made three saves for his 39th career victory. He is one win away from tying Casey Klipfel for second on the Billikens’ all-time wins list for goalkeepers.
Saint Louis outshot La Salle (8-8-4) 16-7 and had a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks.