STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (11-5-1, 6-3-0 GNAC) defeated Norwich University (10-6-1, 6-3-0 GNAC), 3-1, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's soccer contest at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday afternoon.
Looking to solidify their position in the GNAC standings, the Monks came out firing with three goals while outshooting the Cadets by a 14-2 margin in the first half. In the second stanza, Norwich countered with a stronger attack and made it a 3-1 game midway through the latter frame, but would get no closer as the SJC defense stood tall for the remainder of play.
Junior Nicholas Borowski (Webster, Mass.), sophomore Austin Bell (Gorham, Maine) and junior Sean Baker (Medfield, Mass.) scored a goal apiece in the opening frame for the Monks while junior forward Alex Brigante (Litchfield, N.H.) netted the lone marker for the Cadets.
Today's contest wraps up the conference portion of the 2015 schedule for both programs as the GNAC Tournament begins with a quarterfinal round next Sunday. Both teams are in line to host in the first round and the conference office will likely release a complete tournament schedule later this evening.
1. 26:58 SJMMS15 Nicholas Borowski Jesse Ramirez
Saint Joseph's had plenty of scoring chances in the early going and finally hit pay dirt when Borowski, roaming in the middle of the box, took a pass from freshman Jesse Ramirez (Dumont, N.J.) and slipped a grounder between Norwich keeper freshman goalie Stefan Skoff (San Jose, Calif.) and the right post.
2. 32:41 SJMMS15 Austin Bell Dalton Gaumer
Bell doubled the Monks' cushion less than six minutes later when the second-year standout received a well-placed lead pass from freshman defender Dalton Gaumer (Riverside, Calif.) and managed to take two shots, the first being stopped by Skoff and the second landing in the wide-open goal.
3. 42:40 SJMMS15 Sean Baker Mitchell Cyr
The Monks' third tally of the afternoon was of the highlight-reel variety. Freshman defender Mitchell Cyr (Rochester, N.H.) took a corner kick from the right and placed a perfect pass to Baker, who came streaking around the corner in the box towards the right post and one-timed a header into the top right corner.
4. 66:00 NOR Alec Brigante (unassisted)
The Cadets' goal came during a scrum in close proximity to the SJC goalmouth, as Benner made a save on an attempt by sophomore Chase Hainey (Fryeburg, Maine), but was unable to control the rebound, as the ball was collected – in traffic – by Brigante, who tapped the sphere into an empty goal.
For the Monks, Benner made a pair of saves to pick up his fifth victory of the season and 26th of his career – a total that puts him in a tie with former SJC standout (and current assistant coach) Will Pike '10.
The Cadets split the match in net, as Skoff made five stops in the first half and senior Eddie Ramirez (Portland, Ore.) tallied three saves in a scoreless second stanza.
Prior to the start of today's GNAC match, the SJC men's soccer program held a brief Senior Day Ceremony in honor of the team's three seniors: Benner, Nate Fox (South Portland, Maine) and Ralph Houanche (Port-au-Prince, Haiti). The men's soccer Class of 2016 has helped the Monks post a 36-35-4 (.507) overall record with a 21-15-1 (.583) mark in GNAC play over the past four seasons.
Saint Joseph's held advantages in shots (20-9) and corner kicks (7-2) in the victory. Norwich committed seven fouls while the Monks were hit with six infractions on the afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 7-4-1 all-time versus Norwich University and avenges a setback by the same score at the hands of the Cadets last fall.
Saint Joseph's will cap the regular-season schedule on Tuesday with a home contest versus non-conference foe New England College. Kick-off is slated for 3:00 PM.
Norwich completes the 2015 docket with a non-conference contest in a 3:30 PM start at Pine Manor College on Monday.
2015 Men's Soccer Senior Day
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.