Fitchburg, Massachusetts – WPI freshman Mark Calnan's goal in the 84th minute became the difference-maker as Fitchburg State University men's soccer dropped a hard-fought non-conference match on the pitch of Elliot Field, 2-1. Reigning Massachusetts Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week Matthew Krikorian picked up his first collegiate assist while pushing his team-lead in points to 11 during the Falcons defeat.
The Green and Gold were in the driver's seat during much of the first-half and it turned into a lead in the 37th minute when the offense broke into a two-on-one run inside Engineer's territory. The attack was led by freshman forward Krikorian, drawing net minder Jordan Finzel into pursue before toeing a soft pass to senior Mauro Gimenez who finished the run for his second goal of the season.
Fitchburg State controlled the score headed into the halftime break, but it wouldn't take long for WPI to knot the score at one apiece following the intermission. Just fourteen minutes into the second stanza the equalizer came when Engineer's senior Matt Farrell barreled his way into the box, scoring his 5th goal of the year on a difficult sliding shot with a defender draped over him, swinging the game's momentum.
Defense took over for most of the second frame until WPI gained the first-lead of the game off the foot of freshman Calnan. Fitchburg's net minder Alex Al-Zaibak faced one-shot too many as Calnan settled a rebound after back-to-back saves, rocketing the third Engineer's shot of the attack to the left side of the net, and giving his team the 2-1 advantage.
Fitchburg State, having very little time remaining, were unable to respond to Calnan's difference maker, hearing the buzzer sound with a 2-1 victory for WPI.
WPI's Brandon Nemes finished with a game-high six shots, finding the target three times, while Farrell added two shots and three points for his team.
In net, Al-Zaibak turned away nine of the eleven shots faced in a complete 90-minute display between the posts while Engineer's Finzel saw just three shots on target, saving two, and picking up his fourth win in net in a complete game effort.
WPI controlled a large-margin in shots by a 19-to-5 mark. The Engineer's also bested the Falcons in corner kicks, taking all nine attempts in the contest. Fitchburg State held a 9-to-2 margin in saves while also finishing as the least penalized team, 6-to-12.
Fitchburg State (3-10-1, 1-4-0 MASCAC) head toward the final stretch of the season, hosting MASCAC foe MCLA on October 25th at 12:00 P.M. WPI (8-2-4, 2-2-1 NEWMAC) travels to take-on Babson College on October 22nd for a 2:30 P.M. contest with New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference implications.
Release Courtesy of Fitchburg State student journalist Kyle Prudhomme