NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's soccer team battled first-place Saint Joseph's (Maine) to a scoreless draw on Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) showdown between the top two teams in the standings.
Norwich (7-4-3, 4-0-3 GNAC) handed Saint Joseph's Maine (11-1-4, 6-0-1 GNAC) its first league blemish of the 2016 season, despite getting outshot 21-8.
Senior goalkeeper Billy Whaley (Northfield, Vt.) was incredible all afternoon, stoning the Monks' offense, turning aside all seven shots he faced. He also made the save of the year by lunging and grabbing a shot pegged for the top left corner with four seconds left in regulation off the foot of Jesse Ramirez.
Saint Joseph's controlled the possession for large portions of the game and when Norwich did get the ball into the Monks' defensive third, the stingy Saint Joseph's (Maine) defense was up to the task, limiting Norwich to just two shots on target.
Sophomore goalkeeper Blake Mullen turned aside both shots he faced to pick up his 10th clean sheet of the season. Saint Joseph's (Maine) has only allowed six goals in 16 games all season, ranking third in Division III.
Norwich's best chance of the game came in the last three minutes of the first half when a rare defensive miscue between Mullen and a Saint Joseph's defender caught the Monks' keeper out of the goal and left Alec Brigante a golden opportunity from the top of the 18. However, Brigante got under the ball too much and sailed the shot high with Mullen scrambling to get back to the net.
Norwich got some help from Albertus Magnus on Saturday to stay in second place as the Falcons upset three-time defending champion Johnson & Wales 1-0. The Cadets are now tied for second place with 15 points with Suffolk. However, NU holds the tiebreaker with a 4-0 head-to-head victory. Saint Joseph's (Maine) stayed four points clear of Suffolk and Norwich.
JWU sits fourth with 13 points, while Albertus Magnus, Rivier and Emmanuel are tied for fifth with 10 points.
Norwich travels to Rivier on Wednesday, Oct. 19 before closing out the GNAC regular season at Albertus Magnus next Saturday. Saint Joseph's hosts Suffolk at Yarmouth High School Wednesday at 3:30 PM and faces Lasell College on campus at 3:00 PM.
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 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.