NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's soccer team earned a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Saint Joseph's (Maine) on Friday night in a back-and-forth emotion-filled Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) contest on Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium.
With the victory, Norwich (10-3-1, 4-0-1 GNAC) extended its winning streak to eight straight, which is the Cadets' longest winning streak since the 2001 season. NU also remained on top of the GNAC standings as the lone unbeaten team remaining with 13 points. Friday night's win also marked Norwich's first victory over Saint Joseph's since 2010.
Junior defender Christian Albrecht (Albuquerque, N.M.) scored the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute off a scramble in front of the net following a corner kick to put NU on top for good. Senior Ryan Curley (East Haddam, Conn.) was denied at point-blank range by a kick save from Saint Joseph's goalkeeper Scott Benner (Post Falls, Idaho). However, the rebound floated into the air and Albrecht was the first to get a head on it, putting it into a wide open left side of the net.
Freshman forward Bryan Mazzola (Ridgefield, Conn.) scored the biggest goal of his young career by giving Norwich an insurance tally in the 77th minute off an assist from sophomore midfielder Moab Schiers (South Weber, Utah). Mazzola settled a crossing pass from Schiers from the left side of the field and fired a left-footed shot into the right corner of the net to make it 3-1 Norwich.
It was a tale of two halves, as Saint Joseph's carried the play for a majority of the first half, outshooting the Cadets 13-4.
Norwich did manage to score first though as sophomore forward Alec Brigante (Colchester, Vt.) scored for the second straight game and his fourth of the year to put the Cadets up 1-0 in the 15th minute. Schiers and senior team captain Chris Bristol (Clinton, Conn.) picked up the assists on the goal.
However, Saint Joseph's battled right back and answered in the 25th minute when Austin Bell (Gorham, Maine) tallied his third goal of the season to equalize. Bell side volleyed a crossing pass into the bottom left corner of the net after Yanni Rakis (Belfast, Maine) made a long run down the right side of the pitch to set up the goal.
Norwich outshot Saint Joseph's 7-2 in the second half and carried the play from the opening whistle with a flurry of chances in the first few minutes that helped lead to Albrecht's game-winning goal.
Norwich senior goalkeeper Christian Hallstrom (Las Vegas, Nev.) notched his 10th victory of the season, making six saves to improve to 10-3-1. Benner took the loss for the Monks while making three saves.
Both teams return to the pitch on Monday when Saint Joseph's plays at Rivier University at 1:00 PM and Norwich hosts Johnson & Wales University in a 4:00 PM kick-off.
COURTESY OF NORWICH SPORTS INFORMATION
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.