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Men's Soccer: Defense Protects Early Two-Goal Lead; Warriors Improve to 3-0-0

Men's Soccer: Defense Protects Early Two-Goal Lead; Warriors Improve to 3-0-0

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team got goals from freshmen  five minutes apart early in the match and the defense limited Gordon College to three first-half shots in riding to a 2-0 non-conference victory in its 2018 home-opener Friday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.

Forward Patrick Agyemang (East Hartford) and midfielder Will Toomey (Willington)  pushed Eastern (3-0-0) into the early lead and senior keeper Ryan Murphy (Cromwell) needed only three saves to record his 14th career shutout. The goal was the first in the career of Toomey, the team leader with four assists.

Eastern ends a three-game skid at the hands of the Fighting Scots with its third win in the first seven days of the season.

Agyemang recorded his second career goal when he knocked in a header with just under 14 minutes gone on a right-side from freshman midfielder Jackson Trierweiler (Framingham, MA), who was credited with his first career point. Five minutes later, team scoring leader Griffin Luczek (Lee, NH) sent a pass from the end line through the goal mouth to the far post, where Toomey beat Gordon (2-2-0) sophomore keeper Wesley Sprague (Naperville, IL) from close range to make it 2-0. The point was the team-leading tenth this year for Luczek.

Gordon's best two chances in the first half came inside the final seven minutes. Sophomore Joshua Winnett (Milton, GA) nearly cut the Eastern lead in half with seven minutes left in the first half, but his 30-year drive sailed just wide. Murphy then knocked away a bicycle kick off the foot of  junior forward Tyler Modzeleski (Cazenovia, NY). The Warriors best opportunity to make it 3-0 came with four minutes left, when junior forward Max Parent (Yarmouth, MA) drilled the ball off the crossbar.

At right: Junior Max Parent battles Gordon's Micah Craig (22) in Eastern's 2-0 home-opening win Friday.

The most dangerous four chances of the second half came in the first 15 minutes and were all authored by Eastern. Luczek curved a free kick from the top of the box over the crossbar; in a span of just over six minutes, junior back Nick Starkowski (Marlborough) then hit a sliding shot off a corner kick, with his grass-cutter riding wide left; Agyemang got his head on a long cross at the right post from the left, but Sprague was able to steer it wide; and Luczek took a pass from senior midfielder Justin Jensen (Wethersfield) on the right side, but Sprague was there to cover up.

Eastern hosts Trinity College Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.