The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (1-1) were upended by the Eastern Connecticut State Warriors (2-0) on an overtime penalty kick, Sunday afternoon in the Western New England Soccer City Shootout in Springfield, MA.
The match was played amidst torrential downpours on an extremely waterlogged field. The weather ended up becoming so obtrusive, that it caused a 15 minute delay midway through the first half.
Despite the rough conditions, USMMA got off to a quick start, scoring their lone goal in the fifth minute of the match. Sophomore forward Nick Vogel fired a shot past Warriors senior goalkeeper Jordan Munsell after corralling a loose ball which bounced his way and heading for the net. The goal put the Mariners on top 1-0; a lead which they would hold through the end of the half.
In the second half, Kings Point missed a pair of golden opportunities to take a 2-0 lead. Senior Captain Ryan Silveira hit the post in the 47th minute and Vogel put the rebound just wide.
Eastern Connecticut struck in the 61st minute with a goal off the foot of junior midfielder Carl Stensland, receiving an assist from junior defenseman Christopher Giustina to knot the score.
The Mariners had a chance to tally the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute when junior midfielder Tanner Nestler banged a shot off the crossbar.
The contest remained tied through the end of regulation. Overtime was hardly underway when the Warriors were able to capitalize in the second minute of the extra period. Senior defenseman Bradley Fletcher scored on a penalty kick after a handball was called against USMMA during a scramble after a corner kick in front of the Mariner net.
"We're disappointed with the loss today," said Head Coach Mike Smolens. "But this weekend we played two quality teams who qualified for the 2011 NCAA tournament, and we engaged in two battles our entire time on the field. These games will serve us well in the long term and will prepare us for the tough schedule which lies ahead of us."
USMMA will open their home schedule Wednesday, September 5th when they take on Rutgers-Newark (1-1) at 6:00 PM at Tomb Field in Kings Point, NY.