MEDFORD, Mass. - With under four minutes remaining and a 1-1 game, Nighthawks junior Josue Lopez (San Diego, Calif.) scored his first goal of the season, providing the game-winner as the Nighthawks defeated the Elms Blazers, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon in the New England Collegiate Conference opener for both teams.
The Blazers were called for a foul in the 86th minute and after the Nighthawks set up their offense, Lopez stepped in to take the free kick from nearly 40 yards away. He played a dangerous ball toward freshman Warren Exceus (Boston, Mass.). Exceus's flick on attempt missed, but the result of the miss was a shot that tricked the Blazers goalie and bounced in, giving the Nighthawks a 2-1 lead.
The goal is Lopez's first of the 2018 season. He added an assist on the first goal, which also came from a free kick near midfield.
The game seemed destined for overtime when Elms senior Anthony Romei (Chicopee, Mass.) scored a gem of a free kick goal in the 85th minute, tying the game at 1-1. A Nighthawks foul from 22 yards out set up the look for Romei, who bent a shot over the five-man wall, beating Nighthawks junior Chris Tran (Nantucket, Mass.) to his left.
After 70 minutes of scoreless play, the Nighthawks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 71st minute with junior Andrew Kalombo (Worcester, Mass.) scoring a header from 10 yards out. Lopez set up the goal with a deep free kick, coming off a Blazers foul.
Tran moves to 1-2 this season following his four-save performance. Blazers sophomore Julian Brosi (West Newbury, Mass.) takes the loss, falling to 0-3 despite making six saves for Elms.
Newbury moves to 2-2-1 (1-0 NECC) while the Blazers fall to 0-5 (0-1 NECC).
The Nighthawks return to play on Monday, hosting Emerson College at Hormel Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.