Arias Scores 11, No. 3 Florida International Downs Michigan State 15-4 in National Collegiate Club Semifinal
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Chris Arias (Gr., Miami, Fla.) scored 11 goals, including eight in the second half, to shatter the National Collegiate Club record for most goals in a game and lead No. 3-ranked Florida International to a 15-4 victory over defending National Champion and No. 5 Michigan State University in the semifinals of the 2009 Tournament at the University of Florida.
The game made history in two areas as Arias obliterated the previous record for most goals in a National Collegiate Club Championship game previously held by a number of players, including Arias, at eight, while the Golden Panthers' 11 goal margin of victory marked the most ever in a semifinal or National Title game.
For FIU, Alex Lipin (Jr., Moscow, Russia) added a hat-trick and Chase Vaughan (Sr., Miami, Fla.) chipped in a solo score in support of Arias' record-breaking performance as the Golden Panthers advance to the program's first-ever National Championship game appearance.
Florida International will meet the winner of a semifinal game between No. 1 University of California-Los Angeles and No. 4 University of Arizona at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, November 15 as the Golden Panthers have a chance to win the program and Florida Division's first-ever national titles.
The game was a story of halves as FIU opened up a 6-2 lead by halftime and blew the game open in the second half behind the play of Arias who shot eight-of-10 in the last 14 minutes of the game to establish a new record scoring high for a single player.
Vaughan opened the scoring for the Panthers with a blast from the perimeter at the 5:11 mark before Arias finished a crossing pass from Lipin at the 2:50 mark to put FIU ahead 2-0 after seven minutes of play.
Lipin got into the scoring act 19 seconds into the second period with a rocket from two-meters before Michigan State's Andrew Olesnavich (Sr., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) broke the ice for the Spartans with a shot-and-score at the 6:19 mark to pull MSU within 3-1.
The Spartans' momentum terminated 25 seconds later as Arias broke loss for a direct shot at 5:54 before weaving his way through the Michigan State defenders to accept and deposit a pass from Andy Alvarez (Sr,, Miami, Fla.) at the 3:28 mark to put his team in front 5-1.
MSU attempted to begin a comeback bid at the 2:29 mark with a goal by Tim Wickes (So., Chicago, Ill.), but Lipin answered with 1:12 glowing on the game clock for a 6-2 lead at the break as six players scored in the half.
The tone and pace of the game changed radically in the second half as the final 14 minutes of play were a highlight reel of Arias' play as he scored four in the third period and four more in the fourth to in one half equal the best ever scoring performance by a single player in a National Collegiate Club Championship game.
He began his Jordanesque performance 33 seconds into the second half as he mowed down the tank and uncorked a rising shot which sailed up and into the upper corner of the cage for a 7-2 lead. Olesnavish answered with a skip shot at the 2:43 mark, but the score began a scoring run by Arias potentially unmatched in the history of the championship.
With only 90 seconds left in the period, he scored in three different ways connecting on a sweep shot at 1:29, unleashing a direct shot at 42 seconds and lobbing a shot into the cage with three seconds remaining to take a four goal game and turn it into a 10-3 lead for the Golden Panthers.
He was not done, however, as he opened the fourth period with a fade shot in which he drove on his defender, dropped back and lifted a shot up and into the upper portion of the cage mouth at the 5:43 mark. Arias struck again at 3:58 with a direct shot for a 12-3 lead and his ninth goal to shatter the previous scoring record before Lipin skipped in a marker at 3:31 to build the lead to double-digits at 13-3.
He tacked on his 10th goal of the game with 1:49 to go in the game with a counter strike before Michigan State's Andrew Leonard (Fr., Dexter, Mich.) registered the only man-up goal of the game with 46 seconds left on the clock to make it 14-4.
Appropriately, Arias, who earned Player of the Game honors for his offensive prowess, finished off the scoring with 26 seconds left on the clock for his 11th score of the day as the Golden Panthers ended MSU's hopes of repeating as the National Champion.
Theo Jenetopolous (Sr., Miami, Fla.) made 10 saves to pick up the victory for Florida International, while Ben Shantz (Jr., Rockford, Mich.) played the first half and Jordan Ringold (Fr., Jenison, Mich.) manned the pipes in the second half for MSU as the duo combined for 10 Spartans' saves.
Michigan State will conclude their tournament competition at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 15 against the loser of the UCLA-Arizona semifinal game in the third place game. The game will mark the first time in five years that Michigan State will not appear in the National Championship game as the Spartans previously captured the 2000, 2006 and 2008 titles.
Overall, the loss continues a streak known as the "Curse of Uno" as Michigan State, which entered the championship as the No. 1 seed since the Big Ten Division won the title last year, fell. In the history of the championship, no team which entered the field with the No. 1 position has captured the title since Cal Poly achieved the feat in 2002 with an 11-9 OT victory against the University of Southern California. Since the Mustangs won the title from the top position, No. 1 teams have finished second four times (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008), third (2004) and fourth (2005).
|No. 3 Florida International University||2||4||4||5||--||15|
|No. 5 Michigan State University||0||2||1||1||--||4|
MSU Goals: Andrew
Olesnavich (2); Tim Wickes; Andrew Leonard
FIU Goals: Chris Arias (11); Alex Lipin (3); Chase Vaughan
Saves: MSU - Ben Shantz (5), Jordan Ringold (5) ; FIU - Theo Jenetopolous (10)
Exclusions: MSU - 0 ; FIU - 5
Advantage Opportunities: MSU - 1-for-5 ; FIU - 0-for-0
Sprints: MSU - 1-for-4 ; FIU - 3-for-4