STANDISH, ME – Thomas College (2-1-0) edged Saint Joseph's College (0-2-1), 3-2, in a non-conference men's soccer match at Westerlea Way Field on Wednesday afternoon. Freshman forward Yanni Rakis (Belfast, Maine) scored both of the Monks' goals in the losing effort.
A defensive struggle in the first half turned into anything but in the second, as the teams combined to net all five goals in the closing frame. The former conference rivals traded scores throughout the second half, but the Terriers would score first and last to take the victory.
Following a scoreless first half, the Terriers would strike first early in the second stanza when sophomore midfielder Tre Ming (Devonshire, Bermuda) potted an unassisted marker just 1:20 into the latter frame. Ming put the Terriers on top with a shot out that sailed over the head of Monks' netminder Robert Petrosillo (Methuen, Mass.) from 40 yards out.
The visitors' first lead of the contest lasted only 3:09, as Rakis recorded his first NCAA goal to knot the match at 1-1 in the 50th minute of play. Senior midfielder Kyle Shangraw (Westbrook, Maine) ignited the play with a shot from the heart of the 20, a blast that was chipped to the right by Thomas keeper Mikkail Crockwell (St. David's, Bermuda), and the loose ball found the foot of Rakis, who tapped the sphere into an open net.
Thomas answered almost exactly 10 minutes later, as freshman midfielder Ali Pak (Maidenhead, England) put his club on top again when he lifted a shot over Petrosillo's head from about 30 yards out in the 60th minute. Senior forward Michael Hand (Essex, England) was credited with an assist on the play.
Maintaining the see-saw theme, the Monks countered at the 74:57 mark when Rakis scored off a nice left-to-right cross from Shangraw to tie the game at two-apiece.
But the Terriers, who outshot the Monks by a 15-9 margin in the second half, kept applying offensive pressure and the effort paid off when senior back Paul Rechichi (Kingsley, Australia) tallied what proved to be the game-winner with 6:08 remaining in regulation. Following a Saint Joseph's foul, sophomore back Zeon Robinson (Hamilton, Bermuda) was awarded a free kick and set up the clincher with a perfect lofting cross to the middle of the box, where Rechichi found his way behind Petrosillo and headed the winner into the top right corner.
Despite the relatively high-scoring result, both goalkeepers played well and made several acrobatic saves in the early-season contest. Crockwell made six stops to collect the victory and Petrosillo – who sat out as a sophomore and made his first start today since October 4th, 2011 – produced seven saves in a losing effort.
Overall, Thomas held a 20-13 advantage in shots while the Monks recorded a slim 3-1 lead in corner kicks on the afternoon. The Terriers were flagged for 12 fouls and the hosts were slapped with infractions on nine occasions.
With the result, Saint Joseph's falls to 13-7-3 in the history of the series with Thomas College, the 2012 North Atlantic Conference champs. Both of the Monks' losses this season have come at the hands of 2012 NCAA Tournament participants. The side suffered its first setback of the year last Saturday when Roger Williams University, the 2012 Commonwealth Coast Conference champion, topped the Royal Blue by a 3-1 score.
Saint Joseph's returns to action on Saturday with a non-conference contest at University of Maine-Presque Isle (1:00 PM). Thomas also returns to the pitch on Saturday, when the Terriers travel to University of New England (1:00 PM).
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 350-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.