Men’s Soccer Keeps Rolling

Shun Hasegawa

This team doesn’t present their fans with as many home victories as the Sox do in the Fens, nor do they make their fans irritated by the results of the away games. With two more wins on the road last week, UMB’s Men’s soccer team (4-1-1) improved their away record 4-0-0, while struggling at Clark Athletic Center with a stinging 0-1-1.

The Beacons opened a three-match week with a home game loss of 0-1 in overtime against Suffolk University on Tuesday, September 21. However, UMB’s five goals against Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday, and a 3-2 triumph against Plymouth State University proved that they could hold their own with their rivals in the Little East Conference. All of them defeated the Beacons last year.

After being scoreless for 100-some minutes on Tuesday, UMB finally ended its net-hunger strike to crush Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday. After leading with 1-0 by sophomore forward Sean Vauldrin’s goal in the first half, UMB sank the Crusaders 5-0 with four more goals by freshman midfielder Carlos Cabral, sophomore midfielder Maynor Sanchez, freshman forwards Emile Pierre-Louis and Guilherme Goncalves, LEC Rookie of the Week winner.

On Saturday at PSU, senior captain midfielder Alejandro Lopez shot home the golden-goal at the fifth minute in overtime to complete the 3-2 milestone victory–the Beacons’ first win over the Panthers since 1985, according to the UMB Department of Athletics.

From the beginning, UMB suffered from the Panthers’ tenacity in the first half, highlighted by two goals. The Beacons, caught in a do-or-die situation, struck back in the second half. Sophomore defender Mike Reda, assisted by junior midfielder James Ocampo, wrote the first chapter of this improbable story. Chris Curtin hit it home to tie the game 2-2. The surging Beacons finalized their mission with the game-winner by Lopez, the captain’s second goal of the season.

Back on Tuesday, September 21, Suffolk University tossed UMB the first loss of the season 0-1 with an overtime money-shot.

Though the final score shows otherwise, the match went on in favor of UMB. The Beacons took some real chances by concentrating the ball on right-wing Pierre-Louis, whose outstanding speed Suffolk defenders could’ve only stopped with a foul. The freshman provided a bunch of exciting moments in the first half. UMB, however, missed several scoring opportunities.

Unlike the tranquil first half, Suffolk began to pick up their offensive rhythm and took some chances provided by forward Kevin Rogers’ dribbling prowess. His right-footer at the fiftieth minute almost crossed the goal-line but was punched out, barely, by the Beacons’ freshman goalkeeper Rich DaSilva. For the most part, the Beacons’ rearguards (sophomore Mike Reda and junior Chris Curtin) consistently killed Suffolk’s scoring bids in the early stages of the game.

Some of the witnesses might not believe the statistics that say Suffolk outshot UMB 6-3 in the second half. The Beacons took a bunch of chances with crafty dribbling by Vauldrin, Sanchez and junior left-side midfielder James Ocampo. Vauldrin came close to making a goal, dribbling the center and dodging two defenders onward into the penalty area. He cleared the way to prepare for a potential game-winner. That was the moment when a Suffolk defender charged him, and appeared to illegally block his feet rather than the actual ball. This didn’t provide UMB with a penalty kick.

At the 107th minute in the second overtime period, Suffolk was granted a left-side free kick. Then midfielder Justin Bevis smashed the game-ending header to the opposite side of the frame.

After the loss, head coach Myles Berry pointed out that his forwards have much to work on. “Our young forwards got to realize that they can’t score by themselves at [college] level. They have to be in combination with many others,” Berry said. The team’s six forwards consist of four freshmen and two sophomores.

Lopez’s absence, due to a minor injury, certainly was one reason why the Becaons failed to score. To fill the gap, Sanchez played at the position of an LEC first-team member. Berry commented about his performance. “That must have been difficult for [Sanchez to play at the center] because he is more like an aggressive player [on the front]. But I thought he did a very nice job,” he said.

The Beacons will host a LEC rival Rhode Island College at 1PM on Saturday, October 2.