Courtesy of WConn Sports Information
DANBURY, CT — Sophomore Shane Pugliese (Plainville, CT) scored less than two minutes into overtime to give the Western Connecticut State University men's soccer team a thrilling 2-1 victory over the visitors from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Sunday afternoon at the Westside Athletic Complex.
Western had the majority of the scoring opportunities in the first half of play, frequently keeping the ball in the MCLA end of the field for several minutes.
Six minutes into the first half, Western earned a corner kick and had two strong chances to score, but shots by senior Phil Dagostino (New Fairfield, CT) and junior Zachary Slomski (Colchester, CT) both deflected off MCLA defenders to keep the game scoreless.
At the half, Western held a 16-6 advantage in shots and a 7-2 edge in corner kicks, but the score remained tied at 0-0.
MCLA came out firing to start the second half, keeping Western pinned back in its defensive end for several minutes. At the 49:50 mark, junior Anthony Basile (East Longmeadow, MA) beat the Western defense on the left side of the box and drilled a cross-cage shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Western wasted no time (eight seconds to be exact) getting the equalizer as it took the ball at midfield, immediately worked it to freshman Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) on the left side who blasted a shot that caromed off the MCLA keeper. Sophomore Lucas Saunders (Middletown, CT) was there for the rebound and punched the ball into the back of the net to even things at 1-1.
Both goal keepers kept the opposition's offense at bay for the remainder of regulation, and the game headed to overtime with the score knotted at 1-all.
Overtime was short, and sweet for Western. On its second possession of the extra period, Dagostino worked the ball around (and through) the right side of the MCLA defense. As he angled toward the right goal-post for a shot, he quickly fed a pass to Pugliese who was positioned center-cage about 10 yards in front of the goal. Without hesitation, Pugliese sent the ball into the back left corner of the MCLA goal past the diving keeper, causing a spontaneous uproar from the partisan Western crowd, and giving Western a 2-1 final margin of victory in overtime.
For the game, Western held a 32-18 advantage in shots, as well as a 14-2 edge in corner kicks. Freshman keeper Luca DiCarlo (Waterbury, CT) had a brilliant debut in goal for the Colonials with seven saves to collect the win. Sophomore Kamron Anderson (Springfield, MA) also had a solid performance for MCLA with 11 saves, but suffers the loss.
With the win, Western improves to 2-0 on the season, while MCLA falls to 0-1-1.