Above: Eastern's Arman Karbassioon (right) and Salem State's Bruno Comprido get tangled up in the second half of the Warriors' 1-0 victory Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field. (Photo by Macaire Jones)
Power's goal stands up as Warriors post third straight shutout win
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team allowed an opponent to put a shot on net for the first time in over three full games, but it didn't prevent the Warriors from winning their third straight match by shutout, 1-0, over Salem State University Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
Ranked tenth in New England for the fourth straight week, Eastern (5-1-1) lowered its team goals-against average to 0.94 by recording its fourth shutout in its last five matches. The Warriors have allowed only one goal in winning all four of their home starts this season.
At right: Eastern's Mitch Power gets a step on Salem State's Kevin Gallo in Tuesday's non-conference win at Thomas Nevers Field. (Photo by Macaire Jones)
Senior midfielder Mitch Power's (Douglas, MA) sixth career game-winning goal on a booming shot from the top of the box allowed Eastern to stretch its unbeaten streak to six (5-0-1) against Salem (0-6-0).
With 15:11 left against Salem, freshman keeper Greg Walton (Brunswick, ME) made his first save since early in overtime ten days ago against Ramapo College - a span of 271 minutes and 30 seconds -- in recording his fourth shutout in seven starts and lowering his goals-against average to 0.72. Walton easily handled a dribbler at the right post off the foot of Salem State senior forward Saimir Zepaj for his first save since stopping Ramapo's Abanoub Bestawros 2:34 into sudden death overtime at Nevers Field.
Power's drive under the crossbar late in the first half came in stride and was his second goal of the season. It was set up on a short cross from freshman forward Mark Richards (Springfield, MA), who was credited with his team-leading third assist on the play.
The Vikings had no less than three prime opportunities to tie the match in the second half: Eleven minutes into the half, sophomore forward Ralph Bertrand unloaded a blast which caromed off the crossbar and was cleared by the Eastern defense; nine minutes later senior midfielder Eryk Fernandez - who collected five of his team's nine shots - let fly with a left-footed one-timer on a cross from Zepaj that sailed high; with 14 minutes left, Fernandez found Zepaj alone in the box with room. Zepaj took one step to his left and the hesitation cost him as Eastern sophomore back Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) interjected to the deflect the shot wide.
Richards recorded four of Eastern's 16 shots and forced Salem junior keeper Nondas Kargakis to come up with three saves to keep him off the board. One of his best chances came with two minutes left, but Kargakis stretched out with a dive to his right on Richards' his low shot from the top of the box and deflected it wide of the left post.
Freshman forward Kyle Peterson (Ivoryton) also threatened several times for Eastern, with Kargakis turning away two of his four shots. With time at the top of the box, Peterson struck a hard shot which carried just over the crossbar in a scoreless game.
Two-time defending Little East Conference champion Eastern hosts Keene State College in a conference match Saturday at 1 p.m. at Thomas Nevers Field.