The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (7-7-0, 3-3-0) were defeated by the Drew University Rangers (9-4-2, 3-2-0) by a score of 3-0 Wednesday night in Madison, NJ.
Merchant Marine just couldn't seem to kick start their attack after falling behind 1-0 on an early penalty kick awarded to Drew 22 seconds into the match. Once the Rangers took the lead, they turned on the offensive pressure forcing Mariners' junior goalkeeper Stephen Fucito to make five saves in the first half of play.
The Mariners had a chance to knot the game in the 34th minute when sophomore forward Nick Vogel drove towards the Rangers' net on a breakaway. The Drew keeper made a big save to keep Merchant Marine off the scoreboard and take a 1-0 lead into the break.
The match remained 1-0 for much of its duration until Merchant Marine, desperately in need of an equalizer, began pushing their players forward late in the second half, pressing for the game tying goal. The Mariners created an opportunity on a breakaway in the 73rd minute when junior midfielder Nick Cuellar broke in all alone. The Rangers' keeper was once again up to the challenge and made the save to preserve Drew's 1-0 lead.
Leaving themselves vulnerable defensively, the Mariners gave up a goal in the 80th minute by way of a header which deflected off of a Kings Point defender. Shortly afterwards, in the 81st minute, the Rangers added their third and final tally of the contest on a shot which was again deflected into the net; this time by the Mariner keeper.
"We're obviously disappointed by the result," said Head Coach Mike Smolens. "We had a lot of different guys playing different roles, and we lost to a team that out played us today. We finish up our regular season on Saturday and look to end on a strong note."
The loss drops Kings Point to fifth place in the Landmark Conference standings. In order for the Mariners to make the Landmark playoffs, (top four teams qualify) they need would need a win this Saturday against Susquehanna (12-2-0, 4-1-0) as well as some favorable outcomes in the remaining slate of conference matches.
USMMA's final regular season match will take place Saturday, October 20 at 11:00am against Susquehanna. Prior to the match, Kings Point will be honoring their four seniors in a pre-game ceremony.