NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The Merrimack men's soccer team began the new season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Post in the final game of the first day of the Merrimack Warrior Invitational. With the win, the Warriors move to 1-0-0 on the year while the Eagles fall to 0-1-0.
Senior Adam Leone (East Northport, N.Y.) tallied Merrimack's first goal of the 2010 campaign. The product of East Northport, N.Y., elevated and headed the ball into the back of the net off of a corner kick from freshman Rafael Cabral (Woburn, Mass.), just four minutes into the contest.
Nelson Santos De Graca (Gothenburg, Sweden) came close to making the score 2-0. The sophomore flicked the ball off of a throw-in but the ball hit the crossbar. Moments later, Paul Correia (Revere, Mass.) found Pena with a through-ball behind the defense. Pena beat the Post keeper for the Warriors second goal of the game.
Post got on the board with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Franzy Noze used an overhead kick to put the ball in an open net to cut Merrimack's lead to 2-1.
Both teams battled in the second half with Post looking for an equalizer and Merrimack eying an insurance goal. Neither team could find the back of the net in the second period. The Eagles held the advantage in shots on the night, 15-10. However, the Warriors fired seven shots on frame compared to six by Post. The Eagles were awarded 10 corner kicks on the night while Merrimack earned three.
Senior goalkeeper Kevin Joyce (Mansfield, Mass.) made five saves on the night en route to the win. Errol Reid turned aside five shots as well, for the Eagles.
"The young guys really responded to the college game. They went out there and played their hearts out," said head coach Tony Martone on the freshmen. "The freshmen had a solid contribution to tonight's win. Franklin (Pena) played very hard, scoring a quality goal and defending well too. Francis (Mulkern) and Rafael (Cabral) both did great offensively and defensively."
Merrimack returns to the pitch Saturday, Sept. 4, as it takes on Dominican at 4 p.m. in the final game of the Warrior Invitational.
Dominican downed American International 2-0 in the opening contest. The Chargers netted two first half goals and held on for the win.