The Rhode Island College men’s soccer team evened their record at .500 (4-4) after a pair of wins last week against nonconference opponent Bridgewater State University and Little East Conference opponent UMass Boston. The Anchormen defeated Bridgewater State, 3-1, on Tuesday, Sept. 20 and followed it up with their first LEC victory of the season, 2-1, over UMass Boston on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Against Bridgewater State, RIC sophomore standout Ignacio Cespedes powered the Anchormen’s offense with a pair of goals. Cespedes first goal, his third of the season, came only 11 minutes into the contest after senior midfielder Hector Espildora Fortuno broke into the box and found Cespedes wide open to his left for the game’s first goal. Cespedes picked up his second tally, fourth of the season, in the 49th minute. After the Bears scored their lone goal of the game in the 52nd minute, RIC responded with a goal from junior midfielder Donald Dane.
Coming off a hard fought, physical victory over Bridgewater State, the Anchormen squared off with UMass Boston in their second LEC game of the year. With both teams still searching for their first conference victory of the season, the back and forth battle would come down to the wire.
RIC senior Mike Patriarca nearing netted his first goal of the season only 1:50 into the game but the Beacon’s junior goaltender Brycen Dowd made his first save of the game to keep the Anchormen from jumping out to the early lead. RIC junior defensemen Tucker Shepard spearheaded the Anchormen’s defensive efforts, keeping the game tied by sacrificing his body to block two shots. The Beacons had a golden opportunity after a disputed push call on Dane slowed both teams down as they waited for a whistle that never came. UMass Boston junior forward Victor Rosario took a shot, but the ball hit the far post and went in the opposite direction, keeping the game scoreless. Both teams had plenty of scoring chances in the first half but neither could find the back of the net.
The game remained scoreless until the 79th minute when RIC freshmen Emmanuel Asiedu scored the first goal of his collegiate career after Dowd came out of the net to attempt a save and couldn’t recover in time. Aseidu’s goal was assisted by freshman defender Patrick LaRoche. Three minutes later, the Anchormen picked up their second and final goal of the game after Espildora Fortuno took a corner kick and found Cespedes wide open in the middle of the box for his team-leading fifth goal of the season. The Beacons finally got on the scoreboard in the 86th minute and nearly drove home the equalizer with just 1:20 left to play on a penalty kick from sophomore forward Stefanos Galouzis, the team’s leading scorer. RIC senior goalkeeper Nick Clark rose to the occasion, making the clutch save to preserve the first LEC win of the season for the Anchormen.
“I was holding my breath that whole time,” said Clark of his penalty kick save. “I knew I had to make the save.”
The Anchormen will be back in action at home when they host nonconference opponent Framingham State on Wednesday, Sept. 28.