STANDISH, ME – Senior midfielder Kyle Shangraw (Westbrook, Maine) knocked home a header with 26 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Saint Joseph's College (5-2-1, 2-0-0 GNAC) past Norwich University (5-2-1, 1-1-0 GNAC), 1-0, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's soccer action at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday afternoon.
With time winding down in an evenly-matched conference contest, the Cadets were called for a foul just outside the box. With 40 seconds on the clock, senior forward Zach Johnson (Westbrook, Maine) lined up to take the free kick, patiently waited for his teammates to gain position near the goalmouth, and delivered a perfect pass towards the top left corner of the net, where Shangraw – blanketed by defenders – leapt and headed the late-clincher past Norwich keeper Greg Payne (State College, Pa.).
The gritty contest between the perennial GNAC contenders was dominated by midfield jockeying and impressive back line play by both sides. The teams combined to record 28 shots, but only one – Shangraw's winner – was on target as a total of 11 bids were blocked by the defense.
The match was, in a pair of instances, just a few feet away from featuring an altogether different complexion, as two hotly-debated offside calls where whistled against the Cadets in the first half. Norwich appeared to score on both occasions, but the infractions negated the markers and preserved the scoreless deadlock going into the break.
The first half saw the rivals tally the same number of shots (5) and corner kicks (3), but the Royal Blue dominated the stat sheet to the tune of a 12-6 lead in shots and a 7-5 edge in corners. The physical match featured 31 fouls – 21 called on Saint Joseph's and 10 on Norwich.
Johnson led the Monks' attack with five shots while Cadets senior forward Joe Young (McLean, Va.) accounted for seven of his team's 11 shots in a losing effort. Neither keeper recorded a save, as SJC sophomore netminder was essentially untested en route to notching his second shutout of the season.
With the thrilling victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 6-3-1 in the history of the series with Norwich University. The Monks have now tipped the Cadets in four-consecutive meetings dating back to the 2011 campaign. St. Joe's has not recorded a shutout triumph over Norwich since winning by the same score on October 10th, 2011.
Saint Joseph's will host Maine-Farmington on Wednesday at 4:00 PM, while Norwich is off until next Saturday when the Cadets travel to Johnson & Wales University for a GNAC match starting at 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 430-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.