Chao Leads Corsairs Into 1st Place
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth junior Josh Chao (New Bedford, Mass.) delivered the decisive strike off a free kick in the 54th minute to lead the Corsairs to a 1-0 victory over visiting Eastern Connecticut State University in a Little East men's soccer match this afternoon at Cressy Field.
UMass Dartmouth (10-5, 5-1 LEC) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings by handing Eastern Connecticut (9-3-4, 4-1-1) its first Little East setback of the season. The Corsairs sit atop the conference table with 15 points, two ahead of the Warriors. UMass Dartmouth also snapped Eastern's 12-match Little East unbeaten streak.
The Corsairs honored seniors Adam Philbin (Cumberland, R.I.) and Victor Ferreira (St. Michael, Portugal) prior to the start of the match. The two captains were playing in their final home, regular-season match at Cressy Field.
Philbin generated the eventual game-winning rush with a strong push down the left flank, forcing a Warrior defender to earn a caution to prevent a breakaway. On the ensuing free kick, Chao bent his attempt around the visitors' wall and into the left corner of the net to provide the hosts with a lead they would not relinquish. It was Chao's third game-winning goal of the season and eighth overall.
Eastern Connecticut created its best scoring chance in the eighth minute as senior Mitch Power (Douglas, Mass.) fired a shot that forced the UMass Dartmouth keeper to make a diving save towards his right to keep the match scoreless. Ferreira nearly sent the Corsairs into the halftime intermission with a one-marker advantage, when he struck the right post in the 21st minute.
The UMass Dartmouth defensive quartet of Chao, freshman Georges Tenie (Lunenburg, Mass.), sophomore Karim Fernandes (New Bedford, Mass.) and junior John Macaroco (New Bedford, Mass.) held the Warriors to eight total shots, including just four on net. The Corsairs did not allow their visitors to attempt a shot for the first 29 minutes of the second stanza.
Freshman Luis Carranza (New Bedford, Mass.) made four saves to earn his third clean sheet on the season, while classmate Greg Walton (Brunswick, Maine) stopped six of the seven UMass Dartmouth attempts.
The Corsairs held a 19-8 advantage in shots, while also owning a 4-2 lead in corner kicks.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7 p.m., when the Corsairs travel to Worcester State for a non-conference match. Eastern Connecticut will travel to Little East foe Plymouth State at 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 to close out its regular season.