Seniors Spark Season-Opening Win for MSOC
August 31, 2012
Seniors John Mastrella (Rochester, NY/Greece Athena) and Nate Smith (Hilton, NY/Hilton) each scored a goal and added an assist as the Keuka College men’s soccer team overcame a penalty kick goal to defeat the University of Pitt-Bradford 2-1 Friday night in the Lakefront Classic at Keuka.
It was eerily reminiscent of the 2011 season opener, when both Smith and Mastrella netted goals to lead the Storm past Pitt-Bradford in overtime by an identical 2-1 score.
The Storm (1-0) missed several good opportunities to score in the first half, as both Smith and sophomore Austin Gerber (Rochester, NY/Churchville-Chili) had open looks on goal. Smith had his header land just shy of the net, and Gerber’s 18-yard blast of a free kick was on-target but punched away by Pitt-Bradford keeper Adam Forster.
The best chance came with 15 seconds left in the half. Smith was awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball in the box, but Forster made a diving save to his left to deny Smith, one of Keuka’s co-captains.
The game was scoreless into the 64th minute, when Travis Herr converted a penalty kick to stake the Panthers (0-1) to a 1-0 lead. It took Keuka less than four minutes to respond with the equalizer. Mastrella helped the Storm retaliate, sending a header feed from Smith into the goal to tie it with 23:30 remaining.
Utilizing the same Smith-Mastrella connection, Keuka took the lead for good in the 83rd minute. Mastrella chased down a through ball along the near side of the field and pushed a shot towards the net, where the Panthers defense denied the shot. Moments later, a streaking Smith bore down on the loose ball and converted to put the Green and Gold ahead to stay.
The seniors played a huge role in the opener, in all aspects of the game. Freshman Preston Vick (Kendall, NY) started his first collegiate game and made two saves, but had plenty of help from his defensive mates.
Three seniors: Ron Burd (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan), Justin Ryan (Berkshire, NY/Dryden) and Reis Cunningham (Red Creek, NY, Red Creek) stepped up and limited the Pitt-Bradford attack as Keuka prevailed in its opener.
“I think they (the seniors) did an outstanding job, they played really outstanding today,” Keuka head coach Matt Tantalo said after eking out another one-goal win over Pitt-Bradford.
The Lakefront Classic continues on Saturday, as Wells College (1-0) and Pitt-Bradford play at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Green and Gold hosting D’Youville (0-1) at 5 p.m.
Keuka handed D’Youville a 3-0 setback on Sept. 14, 2011.
The Lakefront Classic begins a period of four straight home games to open the season for Keuka, which plays its NEAC opener at home at 3 p.m. Sept. 8 against Penn State-Abington, followed with a 3 p.m. home clash against Penn State-Berks on Sept. 9.