STANDISH, Maine – University of Maine-Fort Kent (6-0-0) edged Saint Joseph's College (1-1-1), 3-2, in a non-conference men's soccer contest at Westerlea Way Field on a muggy Monday afternoon. Monks goalkeepers Scott Benner (Post Falls, Idaho) and Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) split the match in net and combined to make 11 saves in the loss.
Fort Kent wasted no time getting on the board, as the visitors scored twice in the first three minutes of the game. Senior Ross Downie (Edinburgh, Scotland) scored on the Bengals' first shot of the match just 17 seconds into play and senior Daniel Blackwood (Black Rives, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica) placed a shot past Benner at the 2:38 mark to make it a 2-0 game before fans had a chance to settle in their seats. Kalusha Kotes (Montego Bay, Jamaica) was credited with an assist on the latter tally.
To the Monks' credit, the early deficit did little to affect their efforts as the hosts quickly bounced back and applied pressure in the offensive end. After nearly 25 minutes of solid play by both sides, the hosts got on the board when freshman Jesse Ramirez (Dumont, N.J.) placed an odd-angle shot low into the left corner off the net. Senior Ralph Houanche (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) set up the play with a nice tap pass from the top-middle of the box.
Houanche set up the tying goal as well, as the senior launched a direct kick - after a foul which resulted in a yellow card – taken from the edge of the box on the left directly to the head of junior Sean Baker (Medfield, Mass.), who finished with a header into the left corner for the first goal of his collegiate career.
The 2-2 deadlock carried into intermission and beyond, although Fort Kent applied plenty of offensive pressure early in the second stanza but could not convert, as Mullen – making his NCAA debut – made several diving stops and freshman Dalton Gaumer (Riverside, Calif.) led the defense with a handful of heady plays.
The Bengals took advantage of a defensive breakdown to net the eventual winner at the 66:46 mark. Facing an odd-man rush after failing to clear out of their end, the Monks were out of position on the back line and Mullen left his post to challenge, but Fort Kent freshman Rodney Witter (St. Elizabeth, Jamaica) side-stepped the keeper and tapped the ball into an empty net.
St. Joe's had few chances to knot the game once more as Fort Kent maintained possession for the lion's share of the remaining minutes.
Benner made four stops in the first half while Mullen, who took the loss, notched seven saves in the closing 45 minutes. UMFK keeper Butch Forbes (Miami, Fla.) recorded a pair of saves on the afternoon.
Saint Joseph's travels to Green Mountain College for a 4:00 PM non-conference contest on Thursday. Fort Kent plays at Maine-Machias on Wednesday at 4:00 PM.
BEYOND THE BOX
- With today's setback, the Monks fall to 10-7-0 all-time versus the Bengals – a team Saint Joseph's has not played since October 16th, 2005 when the Royal Blue defeated UMFK by a 2-1 tally on the road
- Fort Kent entered today's contest having not allowed a goal in the last three games, defeating opponents Thomas College, Crandall University and Maine Maritime Academy by a 16-0 combined score
- Saint Joseph's owns a 1-1-1 record through three matches four the fifth time in program history (2003, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2015)
- Freshman Joe Fusaro (Hawthorne, N.J.) made his NCAA debut in today's contest while junior James Barlow (Manchester, England) and sophomore Daniel Fox (South Portland, Maine) made their season debuts this afternoon
- Saint Joseph's is 3-10 all-time versus Green Mountain, a team the Monks have not faced since 2006, when the Royal Blue defeated the Eagles by a 3-2 score on October 14th in Poultney, Vt.
- Green Mountain is 0-2 this fall with a pair of losses in the Fourth Annual Cadet Kickoff Classic at Norwich University over the weekend – the Eagles suffered losses to Newbury College (8-2) and tourney-host Norwich (10-0)
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.