September 12, 2010

Men's Soccer Powers Past C.W. Post in Final Non-Conference Tilt

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The Merrimack men's soccer team netted five goals for the second consecutive game to extend its winning streak to four game. The Warriors handed C.W. Post a 5-2 defeat Sunday afternoon at Warrior Field. The Warriors improve to 4-0-0 on the season while the Pioneers sink to 1-3-0.

The Pioneers struck first as Tobias Christensen flicked a long throw-in to the far post where David Carlsson blasted the ball into the net less than two minutes into the contest, giving the visitors a young 1-0 lead.

Merrimack quickly tied up the score five minutes later as Ben Paradis (Tiverton, R.I.) threaded a ball behind the C.W. Post backline. Franklin Pena (Revere, Mass.) ran onto the ball and toe-poked it just past the oncoming goalkeeper. Everyone in attendance at Warrior Field collectively held their breath as the ball slowly rolled into the side-netting just inside the far post.

Pena found the back of the net again in the 12th minute, heading the ball in off of a corner kick from Evan Burokas (Auburn, Mass.). The tally was Pena's team-leading fourth goal of the 2010 campaign and gave Merrimack a 2-1 lead.

C.W. Post pressured the Warriors in search of an equalizer before intermission. The Pioneers best chance came as Betim Bajrami sprung free on a breakaway with 16 minutes remaining in the opening period. Merrimack goalkeeper Kevin Joyce (Mansfield, Mass.) held his ground and came up with a big kick-save to his right on Bajrami's low shot to preserve the lead.

In the second stanza, the Warriors notched a third goal as Nelson Santos Da Graca (Gothenburg, Sweden) flicked the ball into the net off of a long throw-in from Adam Leone. Leone heaved the ball into the penalty area where Da Graca was the only Merrimack player vying for the ball. Da Graca used the slightest of touches to send the ball into the goal, upping the lead to 3-1.

Just 10 seconds later, Robbie Sabadoz's (Ottawa, Ontario) pressure of the Pioneer defense created a turnover when the C.W. Post goalkeeper misplayed the ball. Sabadoz picked up the ball inside the penalty area and easily placed the ball in the open net, putting the home side up 4-1.

In the 62nd minute, Matt McFadden (New Hampton, N.H.) dribbled his way into the Warrior's offensive third but was fouled just outside the 18-yard line, creating a free kick. Burokas stepped up and bent the ball around the Pioneer wall and inside the near post, just out of the reach of the goalkeeper, making the score 5-1 in favor of Merrimack.

Rumen Kerekov capped off the game's scoring in the 73rd minute, converting a penalty kick to cut the C.W. Post deficit to three goals.

Joyce carried his stellar performance into the second half, making big saves to keep the Pioneers at bay. Joyce finished the day with four saves in just over 80 minutes of work. Evan Berube (Uxbridge, Mass.) entered the game in the final 10 minutes, holding C.W. Post to no goals.

The Pioneers outshot the Warriors in the game, 20-10, but Merrimack held the edge in shots on goal, 8-6.

Photo courtesy of Vaughn Winchell.