Late goals land CSJ and Unity at 1-1 draw

Late goals land CSJ and Unity at 1-1 draw

College of St. Joseph's men's soccer team tied Unity College 1-1 Saturday afternoon on Senior Day. Senior Rosyvelt Baessa scored for the Fighting Saints off of a penalty kick in the 85th minute, but Unity was able to equalize when Ian Montgomery put away a header with less than two minutes to play.

The evenly-matched squads parried for the length of the first half without being rewarded by a goal, though each team took five shots.

Unity would string together four to five passes only to be be disrupted by CSJ's strong line of defense: the quartet of Sergio Lopes, Willian Lima, Hericles Tavares and JJ Morales. CSJ would build up an attacking play, only for a promising cross to be cleared away by a defending Ram. This back-and-forth play was the story of the game.

Senior Delcio Rocha took the first shot of the second half after carrying the ball down the left flank. The ball flew wide, and thirty seconds later, Unity fired a shot to the hands of Maxwell Singh.

In the 55th minute, the Rams earned a free kick and an opportunity to take the lead. Nevin Sweeney's ball from the right side, 15 yards outside the penalty box, soared toward goal. Ben Denoncour got his head on the ball, but deflected it out of bounds.

Three minutes later, senior Keven Andrade drew a foul for the Saints just outside the left line of the penalty box. Gabriel Fiset took the kick, and Rosyvelt Baessa was just short of connecting a header. Instead, the ball continued its path across the goalmouth, and Alex Andrade was able to save it from going out and sent a shot from a tricky angle to the hands of Unity goalkeeper Sam Napper.

With 21 minutes left to play, a Unity throw in was redirected towards the center of the field, and then headed high into the air. The ball appeared to be on track to land in the CSJ goal, but Singh jumped and met it for a save.

The two teams exchanged fouls and free kicks. The Fighting Saints appeared to keep more of the possession in the final 15 minutes of play, though each team saw chances at the net.

With six minutes on the clock, Baessa stole the ball by midfield. He exchanged passes with Alex Andrade while continuing to charge toward Unity's goal. Baessa was fouled on his was there, inside the penalty box, earning himself a penalty kick with 5:50 to go in the game.

Baessa stepped up to the spot, handling the shouts and antics from Rams players with class. Their efforts to throw the Baessa off were to no avail, as the senior calmly struck the ball into the upper right corner of the net, seemingly sealing a win for the Saints.

The 1-0 deficit sparked a fire in the Rams, forcing Singh to make difficult saves in the final minutes of play. With two minutes remaining, CSJ committed a foul midway between half field and their own 18. Will Desmaris executed a well-placed cross between Singh and his own attackman. A perfectly timed run by Ian Montgomery earned him a header, which he sent into the left side inner netting of CSJ's goal, equalizing the game with 1:37 to play.

Time expired without another goal from either team, and two overtime periods proved to be more like the first 75 minutes of play, back-and-forth with few quality scoring chances.

Unity let 18 shots fly to CSJ's 11, but each team recorded nine shots-on-goal. Freshman Singh stopped eight shots, half of which had great potential to put CSJ in a hole. Unity's Napper also had eight saves.

"This was five seniors' last home game at CSJ and they played their hearts out," said CSJ Head Coach John White. Keven Andrade, Baessa, Rocha, Lima and Lopes were honored as CSJ's valiant senior class prior to the game, and ended their last conference game as repeat Yankee Small College Conference regular season champions.

The Fighting Saints play their next and final game at Community College of Rhode Island on Wednesday, Oct. 25.