Coming off opening shutout loss, Warriors battle No. 15 Garnet, 3-3
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - It may have been fitting that two men's soccer programs coming off their finest seasons, qualifying for the NCAA tournament and earning the top ranking in their respective pre-season conference polls could not decide a winner in 110 minutes of competition.
At left: Mike Radlbeck
However, after scoring the first two goals of the match in the first 23 minutes after coming up empty in a first-round loss 24 hours earlier, unranked Eastern Connecticut State University was forced to settle for a 3-3 double overtime tie against No. 15 nationally-ranked Swarthmore College on the second day of the 15th Annual Swarthmore Garnet Alumni Classic at Clothier Field Sunday afternoon.
A 3-0 loser to unheralded Widener University in its season and tournament opener Saturday, Eastern (0-1-1) rebounded against Swarthmore (1-0-1), which was coming off a berth in last year's NCAA Division III Sweet 16 and a solid 6-0 rout of Penn State Altoona Saturday. While both programs set marks for season wins a year ago, Swarthmore's starting unit from a year ago has returned virtually intact in 2013, while the Warriors follow up on last year's record 17 victories with a roster comprised of 13 newcomers, seven of whom were among Sunday's starting 11.
Two minutes after Swarthmore senior midfielder Jack Momeyer pulled the Garnet even in the second half, Eastern senior back Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook) pushed the Warriors back into the lead when he scored his first goal of the season on senior midfielder Carl Stensland's (Storrs) free kick. With 19 minutes left, however, sophomore forward Devon Baughen forced overtime when he headed in his team-leading third goal of the year off junior back Michael Superdock's corner kick. The teams played 20 minutes of fruitless overtime.
In his first collegiate start in place of regular senior starter Mitch Power (Douglas, MA), freshman forward Eric Fiore (Newtown) scored his first career goal in the sixth minute, and freshman back Mark Richards (Springfield, MA) gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead with his first college goal 18 minutes later. Radlbeck's pass sprung Fiore for the first goal of the match.
Two of Swarthmore's goals came via head balls on re-starts.
In his second start in two days, Eastern freshman Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made nine saves - three coming in overtime - to help lift the Warriors into the tie in the first meeting ever between the programs. Radlbeck was the only returning defender from a year ago in the lineup. Senior back Christopher Giustina (Enfield) missed the weekend while recovering from a pre-season knee injury.
Eastern opens its home season Saturday, hosting Bridgewater State University at 1 p.m. at Nevers Field.