BOSTON, Mass.—Behind goals from Edmilson Barros (Praia, Cape Verde) and Joshua Khang (Brockton, Mass.), top-seeded UMass Boston men's soccer completed the second three-peat in Little East Conference Tournament history Saturday night at James Cotter Field.
#1 UMass Boston 2, #2 Rhode Island College 1
(UMass Boston 17-1-2)
(Rhode Island College 15-4-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
For the second-straight season, UMass Boston defeated Rhode Island College 2-1 in the LEC Championship Game. With the win, the Beacons set a new program record for wins in a single-season (17) and earned the conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament.
The Beacons will learn their first round opponent and location on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m., with the NCAA Selection Show airing on NCAA.com. Rhode Island College, who was ranked seventh in this week's NCAA New England Regional Rankings, will have to hope for a Pool C at-large berth.
Junior center back Marcelo Cunha (Goiania, Brazil) was named the LEC Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament, after anchoring the Beacons' back line that allowed just four shots on goal in two games.
Barros gave the Beacons the lead less than 10 minutes into the contest after factoring into two key plays. He drew a foul just outside the box and then headed home the ensuing free kick off the foot of Mohamed Kenawy (Revere, Mass.).
Rhode Island College junior Komla Dogbey answered back for the visitors just over four minutes later. Senior Dennis Vazquez sent in a low cross from the far side and Dogbey snuck it just inside the far post past UMass Boston freshman keeper Aidan Carter (Weymouth, Mass.) who desperately tried to paw the ball off the line.
After that brief period of back-and-forth play, the two teams began to bog down and play a defensive battle.
UMass Boston broke the tie in the 40th minute off some tremendous play by two of their seniors.
Klismam Mendes (Fogo, Cape Verde) and Arlindo Goncalves (Brockton, Mass.) fought to take control of the ball at midfield and Mendes dribbled through three players, before finding Goncalves along the sideline. Goncalves slid to the turf and fed Mendes on a through ball, who drew Moura out of the net before sliding a pass back to the middle to Khang. The Beacons junior midfielder calmly slotted a shot on the turf through the legs of one defender and just past another for the game-winning goal at 39:37.
The second half was a total deadlock, as the teams managed just five shots and two shots on goal.
Rhode Island College senior Chris Moura made his first and only save of the contest at 85:13, while Carter stopped a header from the top of the 18 at 87:02.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston joins Eastern Connecticut State University (2011-13) as the only two men's soccer programs to three-peat in the LEC Tournament.
- Both teams limited their opponents to a season-low in shots. UMass Boston held a slight edge of 6-4 in shots and 3-2 in shots on goals. The two teams also managed just two corners apiece.
- With the win, UMass Boston improved to 5-0 at home this season.
- The two sides combined for 33 fouls and four yellow cards.
- Kenawy became just the third player in program history to reach 40 points in a single-season in tonight's game.
- The Beacons earned their third-straight 2-1 win in the LEC Title Game. UMass Boston defeated Keene State 2-1 in double overtime in 2014 and Rhode Island College 2-1 in overtime last year.
- Redshirt sophomore Giovanni Lima (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and freshman Destin Pierrot (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) both come off the bench to make key contributions in the win.
UMass Boston will await their first round opponent and location on Monday at 1 p.m. with the NCAA Selection Show airing at 1 p.m.