College of St. Joseph's men's soccer team shined offensively in a 5-3 win over the Paul Smith's College Bobcats on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
The Fighting Saints maintained possession for the majority of the game, though the final score is not indicative of such. The Bobcats were able to capitalize on three of the four shots they took on-goal, each in the final 30 minutes of play.
The Fighting Saints were full of energy from the time the whistle blew to start. Just one minute into the match, Edson Ferrer unleashed a powerful shot that looked promising, but it took a deflection off a PSC defender, allowing Bobcat goalie Thatcher Morrison to make the save.
CSJ's quick, accurate passing and high pressure offense allowed them to see consistent scoring chances by the goal. Less than three minutes into the game, Alex Andrade passed the ball along the 18-yard box to Gabriel Fiset who was checking to the center of the field. Fiset turned and promptly dished off a pass to an open Rosyvelt Baessa towards the right side, just inside the box, who calmly took a touch and struck a well-placed shot into the back of the net to put the Saints ahead 1-0 early.
Upon the ensuing kickoff, the Bobcats attempted a counterattack to even the score 1-1. Defender Hericles Tavares stripped PSC attacker Nathan Smith of the ball and used centerback Amani Francois to pass the ball out of danger, keeping the CSJ lead.
At the 40:20 mark, after a few blocked CSJ shots, the Fighting Saints had a chance to double the score. Baessa got his head on a Fiset corner kick, sending the ball backwards across the goal. Francois collected the deflection on the right side of the box and sent a cross back toward the net. Denilson Reyes was set in position to strike a bicycle kick, which soared just high of the goal.
Four minutes later, Baessa spotted an opening in the Bobcat defense and sent a through-ball with the outside of his foot to Reyes making a run towards goal. Morrison anticipated the play and was able to make the save before Reyes could get his foot on the pass.
CSJ's dominant possession play continued as the defense swung the ball around the back line, poising the squad for another attacking opportunity. Francois found Tavares on the right side of the field, who centered the ball to a checking Ferrer, who then laid a well-weighted ball back to right-side defender JJ Morales. Morales sent a soaring cross over the field and across the penalty box to the head of Baessa, whose header kissed the inner right post of the goal's frame before taking a bounce and being cleared away by a Bobcat defender.
In the fifteenth minute of play, the Saints' technique shone again. Ferrer found Andrade in the center of the field, who played a give-and-go ball out to Morales on the right flank and received Morales' return pass in the corner of the field. Andrade then connected a pass to Ferrer in the center of the field, who set Fiset up for a promising strike that Morrison reached high to knock away.
The next 25 minutes were full of Fighting Saints shots going high or wide off of corners, free kicks, or free opportunities via passing execution. They also included a Baessa one-on-one with the goalie, but Morrison knocked Baessa's feet and the ball out from under him.
Maxwell Singh saw little action in net for CSJ in the first half, collecting three passes sent long by PSC attackers. Towards the end of the half, Singh was forced to make a slide tackle after a misplayed pass intended for his defender.
It wasn't until the last three minutes of the half that the Fighting Saints found the back of the net again, thanks again to the crafty offensive combination of Fiset and Baessa. Fiset sent a perfectly paced through ball for Baessa to meet and slip past Morrison, making the game 2-0 at halftime.
The Saints started the half aggressively, again creating plentiful chances for themselves. Just shy of ten minutes into the half, Andrade put the Saints up 3-0. Tavares sent a free kick into the box that Reyes deflected towards an unmarked Andrade on the right side of the goal.
Of the Bobcats eight shots during the game, seven were in the second half of play. At the 62:21 mark, Beau O'Donnell tapped in a rebound off the post from a free kick and made the score 3-1.
The remainder of the game was more back-and-forth attacking chances, with four goals scored in the last fifteen minutes of play. In the 76th minute, Baessa noticed Morrison stray from his goal line, and intercepted a ball the goalkeeper intended to scoop up. Baessa maneuvered around the diving goalie and sent the ball on the ground towards the open net, where Fiset was able to connect for his first goal of the night to bring the CSJ tally up to 4-1.
Five minutes later, Bobcat Kegan Kleeschulte finished a cross from Nathan Smith to make the score 4-2. Four minutes later, Fiset dribbled the ball along the endline and sent a pass, which would prove to be his third assist of the night, backward to a crashing Andrade, who fired a shot into the net for a 5-2 lead. In the 88th minute, Nathan Smith recorded a goal after his well-timed run was rewarded by a Louis Daversa pass, capping the game at 5-3.
The Fighting Saints play host to Vermont Tech on Thursday, Oct.5 at 4 p.m.