STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (2-1, 1-0 GNAC) defeated Norwich University (1-4, 0-1 GNAC), 2-1, in a physical Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's soccer contest at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday afternoon. Freshman midfielder Ali Hersi (Lewiston, Maine) scored in the 75th minute to break a 1-1 standoff and propel the Monks to victory in the side's 2011 home ad conference opener.
The winner was set up by a Teddy Palmer '13 (Scarborough, Maine) pass at the 74:03 mark and the goal was the first of Hersi's young career.
Zach Johnson '14 (Westbrook, Maine) opened the game-scoring with a 23rd-minute marker off a Mike Sanfilippo '12 (Walpole, Mass.) throw-in. The Cadets answered just over 10 minutes later when Garret Shufelt '13 (Clifton Park, N.Y.) received a pass from Ryan Campbell '14 (Damascus, Md.) and lofted a kick over the head of SJC netminder Kenny Grade '14 (Hampton, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas) to knot the game at one-apiece.
The deadlock remained in place until Hersi found the back of the net about 42 minutes later. Palmer fed a pass up to the first-year midfielder, who blasted the sphere from the top of the penalty box in to the bottom right corner to put the Royal Blue ahead to stay.
Saint Joseph's held advantages in shots (17-10) and corner kicks (5-4) and Norwich recorded 11 fouls to the Monks' eight on the afternoon.
Grade made two saves to collect his second career victory between the pipes and his Norwich counterpart, Alex Toomey '14 (Anchorage, Alaska), made nine stops in a losing effort.
With the win St. Joe's improves to 3-3-2 in the history of the series with Norwich. The Cadets were picked to finish fourth in the 2011 GNAC Preseason Poll while the Monks were forecasted to place sixth this fall.
Both sides will face non-conference opponents with 4:00 PM kick-offs on Tuesday. Saint Joseph's will play at University of Southern Maine while Norwich is set to host Middlebury in the Cadets' 2011 home-opener.