BENNINGTON, Vt. – In its sixth game of the year decided by a single goal, the Southern Vermont College men's soccer team held on to a tight 1-0 lead through the final whistle to top Becker College Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at Everett Field.
After the physical contest went to halftime as a scoreless stalemate, Southern Vermont got on the board with a strike in the 51st minute. The Hawks pushed to find the equalizer but could only put one shot on net the rest of the way as SVC closed out the league victory.
The Mountaineers improve to 2-1 in NECC play (4-9 overall) and turn right around for a 3 p.m. non-conference match on Sunday at SUNY Canton. Becker (3-8, 0-2 NECC) is next in action on Monday with a 1 p.m. non-league start at Curry College.
SVC is 3-3 on the year in those six one-goal decisions.
Southern Vermont junior captain Nikolas Joseph (Coventry, Conn.) scored the lone goal of the day as his freshman keeper—Dylan Berg (Tampa, Fla.)—turned away all four Becker shots on frame in the win (4-9) for his second collegiate shutout.
Hawk freshman Sam Majewski (Warren, Mass.) made seven saves between the pipes in the loss (3-7).
Becker owned an 18-17 edge in shots taken and a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks during the match, but the SVC defense was able to force most of the visitors' looks to be low-percentage attempts to keep Berg from facing anything too dangerous.
The Hawks' fired at will during the opening 45 minutes as they took 11 shots to Southern Vermont's two in the first half. Berg denied each of the three shots on net to help send the game to intermission deadlocked at 0-0. Play was tense from the start with 10 fouls being called in the first 15 minutes of action.
SVC made adjustments during the break and came out of halftime with some high-paced play. The Mountaineers got four quick shots off in the first five minutes of the stanza before finding the back of the net.
Southern Vermont worked the ball deep down the left side of the pitch and got it into the box; a scramble ensued with the Hawks trying desperately to clear, but Joseph persisted and won the ball off of multiple Becker defenders' touches to finally see an opening. The junior took a touch to get a look with his left foot at the top of the penalty area, and he let it fly into the top of the frame for his second of the season.
The Mountaineers nearly got an insurance goal in the 68th minute, but Majewski made a great save to keep it a one-score game. SVC freshman Jesse Kelley (Middleburg, Fla.) hit a shot from about 30 yards out, and it would have just sailed in under the crossbar had the Becker keeper not gotten up and punched it away at the last second.
The visitors had one final chance in the last minute of play when they were awarded a free kick from 40 yards out on the right side of the pitch. The ball was sent deep towards the back post, but a foul would be called on the Hawks for SVC to set up its own free kick and run out the clock.
– #LetsGoSVC –