BRUNSWICK – Freshman Zach Danssaert scored on the rebound of a free kick by Eddie Jones with just one second left in the first sudden-death overtime to give the Bowdoin men’s soccer team a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Middlebury in a NCAA quarterfinal Sunday.

With the school-record 15th win, the Polar Bears advance to their first Final Four, to be held Dec. 3-4 in San Antonio.

The victory also serves as sweet revenge for the Polar Bears. The Panthers beat them 2-0 in the regular season for Bowdoin’s only loss in a 15-1-4 season. Middlebury also edged Bowdoin 4-3 on penalty kicks in the NESCAC championship game. The loss on penalty kicks counted as a tie.

Jones capped a furious Bowdoin rally with an unassisted goal with 8:14 left in regulation. Time wound down on the first of two 10-minute overtimes and appeared headed for a second when Bowdoin was awarded a free kick with 13 seconds left.

The timekeeper was starting the countdown of the final 10 seconds when Jones hurriedly got the kick off from 30 yards out on the right to set up the winning play.

“I knew time was running out Finaland I was just trying to get it into the mixer,” said Jones.

In the ensuing scrum, Nick Powell got the ball in the 6-yard box. His shot was partially blocked by keeper Tim Cahill before the ball hit the right post.

“The ball came in, there was a clock in my head, and I thought, ‘I’m about to score,’ ” said Powell. “But the goalie got a hand on it, it hit the post, and my heart sank. But Zach put it back, and it’s the most amazing win ever.”

“It was the climax of my life,” said Danssaert. “Nick hit the post, and I just followed it up.”

The ball hit the back of the net with a second remaining, and the fans poured onto the field to engulf the Bowdoin players as the stunned Panthers headed to the bench.

Middlebury (16-4-1) controlled play in the first half with an 8-4 advantage in shots. The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the third minute of the second half when Brett Brazier received a pass from Rob Cole on the right, cut across the 18 and ripped a shot back inside the right post.

Bowdoin’s offense came to life after the goal, as the ball stayed in the Panther end for most of the next 30 minutes.

Sean Bishop’s header hit the right post following one of the Bears’ seven corner kicks in that stretch (Bowdoin finished with an 11-4 edge in corners), and Cahill grabbed a header by Prior before Danssaert shot high on another threat.

Cahill made a point-blank stop on Ben Denton-Schneider and Jason Brooke blocked Denton-Schneider’s rebound bid with nine minutes left. Bowdoin’s pressure paid off seconds later.

Ben Brewster and a defender collided while fighting for possession in the left corner, and Jones pounced on the loose ball.

“Michael Gale went for it, but I called him off and went for the far corner, ” said Jones, who put the ball inside the right post for the equalizer. “Coach (Fran O’Leary) has installed that attitude of never giving up, and we’ve come back in games before, and we knew we’d eventually have to do it again if we want to win a championship.”

“This is a pretty special group of kids,” said O’Leary. They never know when they’re beaten.”

But not for everybody.

“Obviously, it was heartbreaking to lose like that,” said Middlebury Coach Dave Saward. “This is when you equate life with sports, and the lessons you have to take from it. They pressured us after our goal, and we didn’t have an answer for it.”