NEWTON, Mass. (10/17/17) – Despite a career-high 15 saves in net by Matteo Cugno (Medford, Mass.), the Lasell men's soccer team dropped a 3-2 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match to Suffolk University on Tuesday afternoon. With the game tied 2-2 and just over a minute remaining in regulation, Suffolk sophomore Jackson Hines (Bristol, Conn.) netted the game-winner to secure a postseason spot for the Rams.
The Lasers drop their last home contest and fall to 3-13 overall and 2-7 in the GNAC, while the Rams improve to 7-6-1 and advance to 4-5-1 with the crucial conference win.
Despite a slight Suffolk advantage in shots, the GNAC match was evenly contested in the first half. Each team ripped off two shots apiece in the opening ten, with the Rams' bids turned away by Cugno. Cugno kept the visitors at bay with two additional stops, before the Rams opened up the scoring in the 14th minute via Felipe Ucros. Teammate Sal Perrotto (Pembroke, Mass.) sent a ball into Lasell territory from the middle, and Ucros used a one-step deke to catch Cugno off his line for the 1-0 lead.
The Rams had five promising opportunities following the icebreaker, but Cugno stood tall in net, finishing with nine saves in the first frame alone.
As the teams reset following the break, Lasell settled in and pressured Suffolk's back line from the opening whistle. In the 51st minute, senior Stephen Blood (Windsor, Conn.) took a flank pass from Gerald Lemus (Revere, Mass.), beat Suffolk keeper Jon Brodeur (Northampton, Mass.), but shot the ball just wide of the post to keep Lasell scoreless. Suffolk scored its second goal of the game and first of the half in the 64th minute, as Alex Desaulnier (Wilbraham, Mass.) settled the ball out of the air, and notched his second goal of the season to put the Rams up by two.
Lasell was down but not out, as the home team was awarded with a penalty kick in the 82nd minute following a hard tackle in the box by a Rams' defender. Sophomore Matt Latsha (Litchfield, N.H.) took the task and converted on the kick for his fourth goal of the season as the Lasers staged a second half comeback.
At 86:53, Lasell was again awarded a free play following backlash from Suffolk. Junior Carter Migre (Halifax, Mass.) lined up for the free kick just outside the 18-yard-box, and was turned away by a sprawling Brodeur. Junior Connor Wall (Hampstead, Mass.) was there to collect the rebound with a one-touch volley near post, tying the game 2-2 with 3:07 left to go.
Suffolk would not allow Lasell to have another offensive opportunity throughout the game's remainder, as the Rams lined up for back-to-back corners. On the second corner, Restrepo lofted a perfectly placed ball into the six, that found the head of Jackson Hines (Bristol, Conn.), for his first goal of the season.
Despite a tremendous effort in net, Cugno drops to 1-5, while counterpart Brodeur made eight saves in the victory and improves to 5-1.
Lasell will play its last regular season conference game on Saturday, October 21 at Johnson & Wales University with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Suffolk returns to action on Sunday for a non-league game against Lesley.