Tenacious Start Carries Men’s Soccer to Upset-Victory at #4 Southern NH
MANCHESTER, NH- Ignited by a scoring outburst early in the match, the Merrimack men's soccer team shocked #4 Southern NH, 3-2, Wednesday evening. The Warriors rise to 2-1-2 overall and 1-1-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference with the win. The Penmen suffer their first loss of the season as they plunge to 3-1-0 on the year and 1-1-0 against league opponents.
Franklin Pena (San Salvador, El Salvador) got Merrimack on the board early on with a stellar strike in the eighth minute. Michael Rincon (Medford, MA) dribbled the ball at the center of the Penmen's defense, drawing three defenders. Rincon slipped the ball out wide to Pena at the top right corner of the penalty box. The junior took a touch and uncorked a shot that rang off the top of left post then ricocheted into the side-netting on the right side of the cage. The goal was Pena's first of the season while Rincon picked up his first collegiate assist.
Francis Mulkern (Scituate, MA) increased the Warriors' advantage to two goals with his team-leading third marker of the year. Victor Plaza (Jundiai, Brazil) slipped a through-ball from the left side to Mulkern, springing the sophomore in on goal alone. Mulkern simply placed the ball into the back of the goal, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead less than 15 minutes after the start of the contest.
Plaza netted his first goal of the season in the 21st minute, snapping a 19-game scoring-drought for the senior captain. Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, Ontario) registered an assist on the score to earn his first point of the campaign while Paul Correia (Revere, MA) also picked up his first career assist on the play.
Southern NH got a goal back in the 36th minute of the match. Chris Tsonis scored his fourth goal of the year off of an assist from Yannick Kabala. The tally cut the Penmen's deficit to two goals, 3-1, with less than 10 minutes remaining in the opening half.
The Warriors sustained the 3-1 lead at the intermission despite being outshot 10-7.
The home team pulled to within a goal with less than 13 minutes remaining. Ruben Resendes headed in a cross from Jon Brockway to inch Southern NH closer, 3-2.
The Penmen increased the offensive pressure late in the game as they pressed for an equalizer but an offsides call allowed Merrimack to advance the ball out of their defensive third and relieve the pressure.
The Warriors held on to claim their second-straight upset-victory over Southern NH. Merrimack defeated the Penmen last season at home, 1-0, when they were ranked #2 in the nation at the time.
Southern NH took 11 shots in the second stanza while not allowing the Warriors to have an attempt. The Penmen finished the contest with a 21-7 margin in shots and a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.
Mattias Drummond (Partille, Sweden) made seven stops in goal for Merrimack to earn his second victory of the year. Jon Mayo recorded one save between the pipes for the hosts on the night.
"I thought we played extremely well in the first half and especially early on. We did a great job of putting pressure on and taking advantage of scoring opportunities," said head coach Tony Martone. "This was a great win for us tonight and we need to play this way every time we take the field."
Up next, the Warriors venture to New Haven for a Northeast-10 Conference match September 17 at 1 pm.