The majority of Gabriel Soriano’s work doesn’t take place on the soccer field.

The Mary Washington senior and Chancellor graduate spends a chunk of his week helping his father get a home improvement business off the ground.

He also works at Auto Zone on Route 3 part-time and takes 18 credit hours at UMW.

So when Soriano gets to suit up for the Mary Washington men’s soccer team, it serves as an outlet.

“This is a job in itself,” Mary Washington head coach Jason Kilby said. “And he does it in a first-class manner with a fantastic attitude.”

Soriano’s abilities were on display Wednesday at the Battleground Athletic Complex. With two goals on penalty kicks, he propelled UMW to a 3–1 victory over St. Mary’s (Md.) in the semifinals of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament.

The second-seeded Eagles (13–3–3) will visit No. 1 seed Christopher Newport on Saturday in a bid to capture the CAC crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

Soriano “has made an awesome impact,” UMW freshman Josh Kirkland said. “He’s always consistent. He’s scored some amazing goals for us this year. I’m glad we have him.”

Soriano’s two tallies were his sixth and seventh scores of the year. He also has seven assists.

The Eagles were down 1–0 at intermission after allowing a goal to St. Mary’s Jacob Breslauer late in the first half.

But after a UMW player was taken down during Soriano’s corner kick in the 54th minute, he lined up for his first penalty kick.

As Soriano stood with his hands on his hips, St. Mary’s goalkeeper Christian Reyes spread his arms wide. Reyes took a dive to the left, and Soriano fired a shot to the upper right corner of the net to tie the game at 1.

The Eagles were out-shot 10–2 in the first half and needed a momentum boost.

“I feel like in the first half we didn’t perform like we were supposed to,” Soriano said. “In the second half we were going to come out and give everything we had. I felt the pressure of that penalty kick on me. I feel like it was the pivotal point in the game that definitely put it in our advantage.”

After the Eagles tied the game, their offense became more fluent, Soriano said.

That was evident six minutes later when Kirkland gave the Eagles a 2–1 lead. After Kirkland’s score and Soriano’s second PK three minutes and 40 seconds after that, the Seahawks began to unravel.

St. Mary’s Roshawn Panton was called for a yellow card after a disagreement with officials. The Seahawks’ bench also got into a heated discussion with officials. The play on the field became more contentious.

“It got chippy because both teams really wanted it,” Kirkland said. “It was a good battle. I’m just glad we got the win.”

The Eagles are now 2–0–1 against the Seahawks this season.

They’ll now see if they can win their third straight CAC title. They were unanimously picked to do just that in an August preseason poll.

“I’m optimistic and excited for this group,” Kilby said. “They’ve put in a lot of time and energy … It’s a credit to their work ethic and attitude. It’s been very fun.”

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Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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