STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (0-0-1) opened the 2015 season with a 1-1 deadlock versus University of Southern Maine (0-0-1) at Westerlea Way Field on Tuesday evening. Freshman forward Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) netted his first collegiate goal, off an Austin Bell (Gorham, Maine) pass, in the 62nd minute to tie the game, which ended nearly 60 minutes later in a 1-1 tie.
The Huskies struck first, as freshman forward Jonathan Bobe (Portland, Maine) redirected a corner kick with a header past Monks' senior keeper Scott Benner (Post Falls, Idaho) with 4:28 left in the first half. Senior midfielder Adam Simpson (Scarborough, Maine), who sent the ball in the box on the right corner, was credited with an assist on the play.
After a lackluster first half, the Monks kicked off the second stanza with much improved pace and sustained the effort for the remainder of the contest. Junior midfielder Johnny Thomas (Boston, Mass.) led the performance with multiple scoring chances over the first 15 minutes of the latter half, including a wide-angle shot that clanged off the left post in the 52nd minute.
Saint Joseph's finally hit pay dirt in the 62nd minute when Bell sent a free kick into the box, finding Mattos, who finished the play with a rocket past USM freshman keeper Simon Hulbert (Bar Harbor, Maine).
The Monks continued to apply pressure, particularly late in the second frame as the hosts tallied eight shots in the final 10 minutes of regulation, including a near miss by Bell as time expired.
With daylight waning, the pair of overtime periods featured few scoring chances for either side, with Hulbert turning away the Monks' prime scoring chance with a stop on a Thomas bid in the 107th minute.
Hulbert made four stops in the tie for USM while Benner recorded a pair of saves on the evening.
Both teams resume action Friday, when Saint Joseph's plays at University of New England at 7:00 PM and USM hosts Westfield State in a 4:00 PM kick-off.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Benner, making the 50th appearance of his collegiate career, made a pair of saves in the stalemate and is now 21-24-4 through three-plus seasons. The senior captain now ranks third all-time in goalkeeper games, behind Jeff Yaeger '04 (70) and Michael Bolanz '00 (64).
- Although he did not find the scoresheet, Thomas dazzled in his SJC debut with a game-high eight shots while constantly applying pressure on the USM defense.
- A total of 10 new players debuted for the Monks tonight.
- A pair of returners - senior Ralph Houanche (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) and junior Sean Baker (Medfield, Mass.) - began the season with impressive individual efforts.
- Saint Joseph's is now 9-13-4 (.409) all-time in season-openers and 3-5-4 (.375) when starting the season at home.
- Today's result is the second 1-1 opening day score in the program's 26-year history, as the Monks tied the Hawks of Becker College by the same tally on September 6th, 2004.
- Southern Maine owns a slight edge over St. Joe's in the history of the series with a 12-10-4 mark versus their in-state rival. The Monks' 1-0 overtime loss at USM last season (9/10) snapped a five-game-winning streak against the Huskies as the Royal Blue have lost to Southern Maine just once in the last six years.
- The Monks and Huskies played to a 1-1 stalemate on September 18th, 2005 – the only other time the teams matched tonight's score in the history of the series.
- Tonight's tie is a career-first for second-year Head Coach Adrian Dubois and the first for the Monks since the Royal Blue dueled Salve Regina to the same 1-1 score exactly two years ago. In fact, St. Joe's has recorded just five ties in the last 88 games – a span of nearly four-and-a-half seasons.
- For the Monks, tonight's shot total is the most recorded in a game since the team rattled off 42 in a win over Maine-Presque Isle on September 7th, 2013. Last season's high-water mark for shots: 26 versus Maine-Farmington on September 23rd.
- The Monks are 2-7-2 all-time versus University of New England and suffered a 2-0 setback at the hands of the Nor'easters in Biddeford last fall. UNE also opened the 2015 campaign tonight and defeated Maine Maritime, 2-1, on the road. Last season, the Nor'easters went 9-7-2 overall with a 3-5-1 mark in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play.
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.