Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer –
The Owls defeated their cross-city rival University of New Haven Wednesday night 2-0 at Jess Dow Field.
The team now has a record of 4-0-1.
Offense was non-existent in the first half as both teams were held to only three shots, with only one on goal. Owls freshman forward Daquan King, off an assist from senior mid-fielder Luke Perry, broke the dry spell for Southern in the 55th minute, beating Chargers goalkeeper Anastasios Petridis to the lower right corner of the net.
Fellow senior mid-fielder/captain Mario Costa said King’s goal shifted momentum in the Owls’ favor.
“Everyone was emotional,” Costa said. “Once he scored, everybody just stepped it up another level. It was an emotional feeling, everyone got happy, stepped up and started playing well. We tried to grind it out and keep that undefeated streak going.”
The scoring did not end there for the Owls. In the 75th minute, junior forward Doural Scott broke out on a breakaway headed straight for the goal. Petridis slide tackled Scott before he could even attempt a shot. The play ended in a red card for Petridis and a penalty kick for Southern.
Costa was called upon to take the shot in Scott’s place. He capitalized on the opportunity and gave the Owls a 2-0 lead, which sealed the victory for Southern. He said after the game that despite the moment being extremely tense, he knew what he had to do.
“Of course there is always a little bit of pressure, but confidence will alleviate that,” Costa said. “I tried to be a leader for my team and stepped up. I stayed cool and finished with the ball going into the net.”
win puts Southern at 4-0 on the season, which is tied for first place in the Northeast-10 Conference along with UMass Lowell. Head coach Tom Lang said after the game he was content with his team’s performance.
“You’re always pleased when you win games. This is our cross-city rival, and it’s always an emotional game,” Lang said. “I thought that for the most part we handled it pretty well and did what we had to do. We got the goals in the second half, and I thought we deserved to win the game. New Haven played a great game and made it difficult on us, but we’re happy with the result and we’re looking forward to the next game.”
Through the first four games of the season, Owls goalkeeper Greg Cumpstone, has allowed just one goal. He tallied four saves on the night to bring his season total up to 10. His save percentage leads the Northeast-10 Conference at .909. He said after the game that teamwork has been the reason for the team’s solid defense.
“Hard work and good chemistry amongst the defenders but also the mid-fielders and forwards—everyone works hard to defend,” Cumpstone said. “We pride ourselves to keeping clean sheets all the way through, not just the goalkeepers and the back four, but all across the park. We want to keep clean sheets every game. The coaches implement a lot of defensive shape and movements and that certainly helps.”
The Owls finished the game with a total of seven shots, four which were on goal.
“We need to understand the characteristics that make us a good team and keep getting better at those things,” Lang said. “Some guys weren’t as sharp tonight as maybe they needed to be, but other guys stepped up. Hopefully guys will bounce back next week and we’ll go forward from there.”
VS. SAINT MICHAELS
The Owls had their second home contest of the week on Saturday, when they tied 2-2 in double overtime with Saint Michaels at Jess Dow Field.
All four goals came in the first period, the first an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Luke Perry in the 32nd minute.
The second Owls goal came ten minutes later. Senior forward Mario DiMiceli, who leads the team in goals with five, scored on an assist by Tyler Naef.
The team will next play against Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY on Tuesday, 9/25.