EASTON, Mass. (August 31, 2017) – The Stonehill men's soccer team defeated non-conference foe St. Thomas Aquinas College in overtime Thursday afternoon, 2-1, in the opening match of the season on Skyhawk Field.
Stonehill (1-0) saw senior Adam Branco (Naugatuck, Connecticut/Naugatuck) and freshman Michael McShane (Needham, Massachusetts/Needham) tally the goals. Connor O'Brien(Schenectedy, New York/Guilderland Central) and Michael Fraioli (Scotia, New York/Scotia-Glenville) assisted the Skyhawks in the win.
St. Thomas Aquinas' (0-1) George Yusuff recorded the lone goal, as Ivan Dam registered the helper.
The Skyhawks maintained tight defense throughout the remaining time in the first half as the Spartans had three corner kicks to Stonehill's one. St. Thomas Aquinas was unable to get the ball past Stonehill's back line with only three more shots in the first half after their goal.Stonehill tallied three fouls in the first 11 minutes of the game, which gave the Spartans an edge early in the game. After a free kick, Dam sent a cross from about 30 yards out finding Yusuff in the six-yard box who sent the ball past the keeper to the bottom right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.
The second half brought more luck for the Skyhawks, as the squad combined for five shots and senior goalkeeper Conor McDonough (Bridgewater, Massachusetts/Coyle and Cassidy) totaled six saves. Stonehill took advantage of the game in the 65th minute as Patrick Doherty (West Milford, New Jersey/Saint Joseph Regional) knocked a header wide of the net and Fraioli collected the ball on the right side of the field. Fraioli chipped the ball to Branco in the air on the left side of the field, heading it past the keeper to the right lower post knotting the game at one, 1-1.
For the remaining 25 minutes, the two teams battled back and forth as the Spartans totaled seven shots to the Skyhawks' five. St. Thomas Aquinas also out matched Stonehill in corner kicks, five to three, respectively. The Skyhawks launched a final corner kick past their offensive third and regulation was concluded giving both teams their first overtime contest of the year.
The Skyhawks put pressure on the Spartans throughout the entire overtime period which benefited them before time ran out. After a foul on Stonehill, the Spartans brought the ball down to their offensive third, but it wasn't long before the Skyhawks took possession once again.
O'Brien sent a through ball through midfield in position for McShane to maneuver past a defender placing the ball in the low far post, securing the win with 25 seconds remaining.
The Skyhawks will host Nyack College on Saturday, September 2 with a 6:00 p.m. start time at W.B. Mason Stadium.
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