Miguel Carneiro waited six weeks for his moment to happen.
After missing his previous 28 shots, the Southern New Hampshire midfielder finally came through when his team needed him most.
Carneiro broke a scoreless tie in the second half and the top-ranked Penmen defeated Carson-Newman, 2-1, to win the NCAA Division II men’s soccer championship Saturday at Blanchard Woods Park.
Southern New Hampshire (22-1-1) won its first national championship since 1989. The Penmen lost their first contest of the season but didn’t fall again.
In the title game, the teams were locked in a defensive battle the first 73 minutes. With 16:58 remaining, Carneiro took a pass from roommate Brian Francolini and attacked the left side of the net, firing a shot past Carson-Newman goalie Rumwald Le Guevel for a 1-0 lead. Carneiro scored his third goal of the season, his first since Oct. 26.
“I’m glad I saved it for today,” Carneiro said.
Southern New Hampshire sealed the contest later on a penalty kick as Pierre Omanga knocked in an easy kick in the right side of the net to push the margin to two.
“It’s really nice to see that in a college soccer game,” Penmen coach Marc Hubbard said. “To see a team that builds from the back and passes and moves and that takes a lot of pride in their technical and passing ability. To win a game like this and playing a game the right way is just a true testament to the hard work these guys have put into it.
... it’s really nice for us to come away with a national title playing good soccer.”
Unranked Carson-Newman (16-6-1) vied for its first national title. Carson-Newman took just 10 shots and scored on a Kristian Speake goal with six seconds left in the game.
“I’m proud of my boys for the effort and from day one we were the Cinderella team,” Eagles coach Richard Moodie said. “We wanted to play with a little bit of pride and a little bit of passion, and ... I think we achieved that today, hopefully.”