ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 18, 2016) – Senior Tim Hughes (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) one-timed a pass by senior Gavin Yingling (Salisbury, Md.) into the back of the net with just 1:28 remaining on the clock in regulation to lift the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's soccer team over Skyline rival Sage, 2-1, on Tuesday night. The victory, which is the Mariners' sixth-straight, improves USMMA's record to 10-4-2 (9-1 Skyline) and clinches the squad a first-round bye in the Skyline Tournament. The Gators fall to 5-7-3 (3-5-1 Skyline) with the loss.
Hughes, who was in just his third game back from injury, grew up just a half hour north of where Tuesday's game was played and had a number of family members in the crowd to see him net the game-winner. Junior Jon Tarbox (Gettysburg, N.Y.) was also credited with an assist on the tally.
The Mariners had fallen behind early in the game, as the Gators' junior Derlis Zayas found the back of the net in the 12th minute. He took a pass down the right side from sophomore James Fitzpatrick, cut into the scoring area and blasted a shot into the twine.
Sage took the 1-0 lead into the halftime break despite Merchant Marine out-shooting the Gators, 6-2. Freshman keeper Mike Chiaravalloti had three saves in the opening 45 minutes for Sage.
Tarbox netted his sixth marker of the season just over 10 minutes into the second half to pull the Mariners even. Both teams played out the remainder of the time fairly evenly, as USMMA held just a slight edge in shots, 10-8, in the second half.
Senior keeper Cory Maier (Hampton, Va.) was forced to make five saves in the second frame and earned his 10th victory of the year. Chiaravalloti finished the night with seven saves in the losing effort.
"Coach Fitzgerald, Coach Cochrane and I are very pleased with our win today," commented Head Coach Michael Smolens. "We fell behind early and were not playing very well in the first half. We kept our composure in the second half and were brought back level on a terrific shot by Jon Tarbox. We kept up the pressure and Tim Hughes' late goal got us the win. The coaches, our trainer Dan Unverzagt and our players are very proud of Tim coming through in such a big way. When he suffered an injury on the second day of practice he didn't complain, but did everything he was told and was able to get back fit and ready to play. It is testament to his attitude and his makeup that he was able to come back and help get us this win."
Up next, Merchant Marine will host first-place Mount St. Mary (10-5-1, 9-0 Skyline) this coming Saturday, Oct. 22. Prior to the 4 p.m. match, the Mariners will pay tribute to their seven seniors with a special Senior Day Ceremony on Tomb Field. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Men's Soccer Schedule Page.
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Hughes’ 89th-Minute Tally Downs Sage, Clinches First-Round Bye For Mariners