Men's Soccer Kicks Off 2011 Season With Scoreless Tie
ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 2, 2011) – On Friday night, the Mercy College men's soccer team took the field for the season opener against Saint Michael's College at Sullivan Field in Albany, N.Y. After 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, neither team could find the net and were left with a scoreless tie.
The result gives Mercy its best start (0-0-1) since a season-opening win in 2008, and leaves Saint Michael's with an identical record (0-0-1).
Second-year Head Coach Chris Smith opted to shuffle his starting lineup from last season, handing six newcomers their first start as Mavericks, including freshman back Tafari Newman (Bronx, N.Y.) and sophomore walk-on midfielder Mustaffa Alobeidy (Baghdad, Iraq) as the only two underclassmen.
The first half stayed scoreless thanks to junior transfer goalkeeper Nick Papas (Castleton, N.Y.) making two saves of his eventual five saves in the first 15 minutes. The Mavericks weathered a flurry of offense from the Purple Knights over the first half hour before putting the pressure on themselves, forcing three saves of junior Purple Knight goalkeeper Logan Kingman (New Bern, N.C.) over five minutes of play. Neither team could find the net, however, and went into the half together at 0-0.
The Mavericks came out for the second half on their heels again, with the Purple Knights peppering the defense with three shots, but Mercy recovered quickly and controlled the vast majority of the remainder of the second half. Mercy still could not muster the game-winner, however, and the game went into overtime.
Saint Michael's came out firing in the first overtime period, blasting three shots (two on goal and one blocked) but the Mercy defense held firm.
The Mavericks' big break came in the 103rd minute, when Purple Knights freshman back Gonzalo Mengotti (Key Biscayne, Fla.) picked up a red card on his second caution of the game (the first came in the 99th minute) and was sent off, leaving Saint Michael's down a man for the final seven minutes. Despite the man advantage and edging Saint Michael's out 9-5 in corner kicks, Mercy could not muster the game-winner and was left with the tie.
Senior midfielder Bujar Lajqi (Bronx, N.Y.) played significant minutes coming off the bench, but picked up a yellow card himself in the 57th minute. He was not the only other player to be cautioned, as the Purple Knights' junior midfielder Nick Colangelo (Hampstead, N.C.) received a card just 14 minutes later.
Sophomore midfielder Anthony Stanley (La Ceiba, Honduras) led the Purple Knights' attack, putting two of his three shots on goal. Senior back Collin Legge (Schodack, N.Y.) and junior forward Ernest Afful (Columbus, Ohio) paced the Maverick with two total shots, one on goal, each.
Papas earned the shutout in his debut, Mercy's first double-overtime clean sheet since the 2006 season finale.
The Mavericks will take on host Saint Rose in the second game of the Saint Rose Tournament tomorrow, with kickoff set for 4:00 p.m. Visit www.mercyathletics.com tomorrow to view the game on LiveStats.