PORTLAND, Maine – Junior forward Austin Bell (Gorham, Maine) scored three goals to help lift top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (14-1-4, 8-0-1 GNAC) past #8 Mount Ida College (5-10-3, 2-6-1 GNAC), 4-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Deering Memorial Stadium.
Bell scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 32nd minute with a one-timed header strike, to the top left corner of the net, off a terrific pass from freshman defender Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) and tacked on two more goals just 1:26 apart later in the game to complete the hat-trick performance.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances in the GNAC Tournament and will host #4 Suffolk University in a conference semifinal on Tuesday afternoon, start time TBD. The Rams blanked #5 Albertus Magnus College, 2-0, in other quarterfinal action this afternoon.
For Mount Ida, the loss signals the end of the 2016 campaign.
Saint Joseph's dominated the stat sheet, outshooting Mount Ida by a 36-3 margin – including a 19-0 shots on goal advantage – with a 9-4 lead in corner kicks.
Mount Ida junior Riley Ford (Guilderland, N.Y.) kept his team in the game for the better part of the afternoon and made 15 saves in a losing effort. Saint Joseph's sophomore Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) was untested in registering his team-record 12th shutout of the season.
- The Mustangs clung to the 1-0 deficit until the 74:37 mark, when senior Nicholas Borowski (Webster, Mass.) potted his third marker of the season off a Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.) pass
- Bell scored his second goal at the 80:30 timestamp and capped his first collegiate hat trick with another unassisted strike at the 81:56 mark
- In setting up the Monks' first goal, Robinson chased down a lead pass from senior Sean Baker (Medfield, Mass.) down the left sideline and unleashed a perfect odd-angle feed, just before the ball hit the end line, to the far post where Bell finished the play with a header
- Both teams had a shot clang off the crossbar in the tourney match, as sophomore Mitchell Cyr (Rochester, N.H.) found iron at the 17:37 mark and Mount Ida senior Tyler Grothusen (Ramsey, N.J.) hit the pipe in the 79th minute
- With the victory, Saint Joseph's extends the program-record undefeated streak to 17 games
- The Monks have now pitched eight-consecutive shutouts and have not allowed an opponent to score in the last 13 games (the 10/1 JWU goal was an own goal)
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 7-4-0 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College, a team the Monks defeated by a 1-0 margin earlier this season (9/28). Four goals is the most the Monks have ever scored versus the Mustangs.
Prior to the start of the match, the Monks held a brief ceremony to honor the program's two seniors: Sean Baker and Nicholas Borowski, a duo that has helped Saint Joseph's post a 40-31-6 (.563) record over the last four seasons.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.