PROVIDENCE, R.I.-Junior midfielder Emmanuel Asiedu (Lincoln, RI) scored on a penalty kick with 30 seconds left in regulation to lift Rhode Island College to a 3-2 win over UMass Boston in both teams regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at the RIC Soccer Field.
With the win, the Anchormen (8-5-5, 3-2-2 LEC) claimed the fourth and final spot in the upcoming 2013 Little East Conference Men's Soccer Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, Nov. 6. UMass Boston (11-7-1, 3-3-1 LEC), which only needed a tie to claim the fourth spot, finishes in fifth place.
The Beacons close out the season with the third-most victories in a single-season in program-history and the team's six win improvement from last year to this year, is tied for the second largest jump in program history.
With the clock winding down in regulation, the Anchormen drew a foul just outside the box to set up a free kick. Asiedu's ball bent towards the back post, where sophomore midfielder Camilo Estrada (Pawtucket, RI) struck with a header. Although Estrada's attempt to give RIC the lead rang off the crossbar and ricocheted out of harm's way, junior defender Kwasi Boateng (East Hartford, CT) drew a foul call during the play to set up the penalty kick with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Asiedu ripped the penalty kick past sophomore goalkeeper Alfonso Rosales (Revere, MA) to give the hosts the eventual game-winning goal. It was the fifth game-winning goal of the season for the junior striker and his third game-winning goal on a penalty kick.
After both offenses fell silent throughout much of the first half, UMass Boston struck first in the 41st minute when junior forward Marcus Pizzetti (Malden, MA) put in his 12th tally of the season on an assist from classmate striker Lenir Lima (Mindelo, Cape Verde).
The Beacons kept the Anchormen at bay for the remainder of the first stanza as the two clubs went into intermission with eight shots apiece. RIC had a chance to tie the game at one with just two minutes remaining in the frame, but Boateng's goal was waved off because of an offside call.
The Anchormen responded in the 56th minute when sophomore forward Jose Zarraga (Providence, RI) tied the game, 1-1, with his eighth score of the season. Junior midfielder Brian Sujecki (Pawcatuck, CT) set up the strike with a perfectly placed cross from just outside the left post that Zarraga knocked home with the header.
Just over eight minutes later, Estrada put the hosts on top with his eighth of the year, converting a pass from Asiedu. Asiedu gathered possession in the midfield following a turnover and drove towards the box before quickly dishing to Estrada. Estrada sidestepped a pair of defenders and laced a shot past Rosales from 15 yards out to give the Anchormen a 2-1 advantage.
RIC remained in the lead until the 76th minute when the visitors netted the equalizer. Lima broke free down the left side of the field and into the box, where he was approached by freshman goalkeeper Chris Moura (Rumford, RI). Lima dodged the charging netminder and dished to junior midfielder Luis Alva (Lima, Peru), who chipped a shot into an empty net for his first of the season.
Saturday's tilt turned out to be an extremely chippy contest, as the two squads combined for two red cards, six yellow cards, and 35 fouls.
The Anchormen held the advantage in shots, 20-17 and corner kicks, 4-1, on the day.
Moura made five saves to earn his sixth win (6-5-5) of the season. Rosales made five saves in a losing effort (10-7-1).
Information for this release provided by Rhode Island College Sports Information Department