JACKSON, Miss. - Virginia Commonwealth University recruits Lucas Paulini, Nicholas rich and Josh Pantazelos' run in the Premier Development League playoffs ended Friday night when the Mississippi Brilla fell 6-5 in penalty kicks to the Houston Leones.
Rich helped the Brilla take a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute when he fed a corner kick to teammate Phillip Buffington, but Mississippi couldn't hold the lead as Houston forced PK's on a score with three minutes remaining in the second overtime.
The PDL, which is recognized as the top U23 men's soccer league in North America, features 68 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada, and provides elite college players a training platform for professional soccer.
Paulini and Rich, midfield transfers from Division II Tusculum College, each finished the summer season with a pair of goals, while Rich added three assists and Paulini collected two. Pantazelos, who spent the previous two seasons at 2009 NCAA Runner-Up University of Akron, missed the playoffs after suffering an injury just five games into the season. In 425 minutes in the net, Pantazelos posted a shutout with 20 saves and boasted a team-low 1.27 goals against average.
After going 3-0-3 in its first six matches, Mississippi won the final eight games of the regular season to capture the Southeast Division title. Prior to its postseason loss, the Brilla was one of two undefeated teams in the PDL.