PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island College senior Dennis Vazquez scored a goal in each half, to lift the second-seeded Anchormen past #3 UMass Boston men's soccer 2-0 in the Little East Conference Semifinals.
#2 Rhode Island College 2, #3 UMass Boston 0
(UMass Boston 9-6-3)
(Rhode Island College 9-7-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After falling to the Beacons in three-straight LEC Tournaments, the Anchormen got a semblance of revenge, in advancing to their third-straight straight LEC Championship Game. Rhode Island College will travel to top-seeded Western Connecticut State on Saturday for the LEC Finals.
UMass Boston saw their string of three-straight LEC Championship and their season come to an end on Wednesday. Despite outshooting the hosts and coming up with a slew of chances late, the Beacons couldn't find a way back into the game.
Wednesday's contest marks the final game in the careers of the team's six seniors: Marcelo Cunha (Goiania, Brazil), Adonis Mutambu (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo), Joshua Khang (Brockton, Mass.), Giovanni Lima (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Gabriel Pereira (Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Daniel Morales (San Diego, Calif.). The Class of 2018 finishes their career with three LEC Tournament Championships, two LEC Regular Season Titles and the second-most wins in program history (57).
Cunha was all over the field for the Beacons in his final collegiate contest. The senior back shut down RIC's All-Region center forward Komla Dogbey, while also generating a team-high four shots on goal, and creating the team's best chances of the game.
Rhode Island College freshman goalie Charlie Tashjian made eight saves in the shutout win.
The Anchormen jumped out to a fast start in the contest, but Carter was there to keep the game even. In the third minute, Carter leaped to his right and made a diving save to deny Cooper Ferreira. He added a huge save on a point-blank shot from Dogbey at 11:20 to keep the game scoreless.
UMass Boston nearly opened the scoring minutes later. Cunha headed a Morales corner kick right at Tashijian, but the freshman keeper couldn't hold on. Two separate Beacons got their foot on the rebound, but neither player could knock it home.
Vazquez put the hosts on the scoreboard at 17:03. After UMass Boston was whistled for a handball, Vazquez lofted a free kick from 35-yards out that fooled Carter and dipped just underneath the bar.
The Beacons drew a free kick of their own in the 26th minute but it should have much more. A Rhode Island College player threw out his arm to deny a through ball for Davenport, but the referee blew the whistle instead of giving advantage, denying Davenport a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie.
UMass Boston picked up their play over the final 60 minutes and kept the pressure on the Anchormen, but couldn't beat Tashijian.
Cunha had a great opportunity in the 73rd minute, but his left footed shot went straight at the keeper from eight-yards out.
The hosts put the game away in the 88th minute, thanks to the Beacons pushing numbers forward.
With the Anchormen in on a 3-on-3 chance, Vazquez's defender slipped on the wet grass, and Vazquez ripped a shot past a charging Castro-Dreher to make it 2-0.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston outshot the Anchormen 19-13 and 8-6 in shots on goal.
- Cunha ends his career as the program record-holder for career games played. The senior captain started all 82 games he played in, two more than previous record holder Edmilson Barros ('17).
- The two teams combined for 26 fouls, with the Anchormen picking up 18. Both teams were issued three yellow cards during a very physical affair.
- The loss marked the first LEC Tournament loss for fifth-year head coach Jake Beverlin. Beverlin had gone 6-0 in winning three-straight LEC Championships.
- Rhode Island College improved to 22-16-2 all-time against the Beacons. The win snapped a six-game Beacon winning streak, that included three-straight LEC Tournament wins.
UMass Boston will return nine of their starters from today's contest next year.