MEDFORD, Mass. – The Newbury College men's soccer team has advanced to the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference Championship Final after defeating New England College 2-1 this afternoon in the NECC Semifinals. The Nighthawks scored a pair of goals in the first 13 minutes of the contest earning the right to host defending NECC Champion, Mitchell College, at 1pm at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Mass.
In the seventh minute of the contest, a foul was whistled inside the Pilgrim box awarding the Nighthawks a penalty kick. NECC Freshman of the Year, Warren Exceus (Boston, Mass.), blasted the penalty attempt to the right of New England College sophomore goalkeeper Robbie Ferguson (Hopkinton, N.H.). The goal was the seventh registered by Exceus this season.
In the 13th minute, the Pilgrims were whistled for offsides. Newbury quickly restarted play to the left of its own goal when junior Julio Arreola (San Diego, Calif.) found classmate Josue Lopez (San Diego, Calif.) near midfield who then flicked the ball to freshman Ryan Gonzales (Portsmouth, N.H.) who received the ball about 20 yards from the goal. Gonzales redirected the bouncing ball over the outstretched arms of Ferguson for what proved to be the game winner.
New England College would break through and cut the deficit in half when senior Miguel Argueta (Norwalk, Conn.) headed a cross from classmate Vasili Vakalfotis (Burlington, Mass.). The shot from Argueta floated over the arms of the NECC Goalkeeper of the Year junior Chris Tran (Nantucket, Mass.) to find the inside of the right post.
For the contest, Newbury outshot New England College 10 to 8, however, the Pilgrims staged a furious effort in the second half with five shots to the Nighthawks three. Tran lowered his NECC-leading goals against average to 0.62 in the win.
The victory for the Newbury gives them 10 wins on the season which marks the third time in the last four years that the Nighthawks have eclipsed the 10-win plateau.
The run to the championship game for Newbury will mark the third time in the last six years that it has appeared in the NECC Championship Game (2013 and 2015). The Nighthawks will welcome Mitchell who defeated Eastern Nazarene College, 1-0 in overtime in the other NECC Semifinal earlier today. In their last meeting on October 6, the Nighthawks outlasted the Mariners on the strength of a Kobe Barnes goal in the 109th minute.
NECC Men's Soccer Championship - Sunday, November 4 - Hormel Stadium, Medford, Mass.
#2 Mitchell College at #1 Newbury College - 1pm