Haji's Late Strike Helps Men's Soccer Stay Unbeaten; Defeats WPI, 2-1

Haji's Late Strike Helps Men's Soccer Stay Unbeaten; Defeats WPI, 2-1

Worcester, Mass. - October 8, 2016 - Sophomore midfielder Keon Haji (Shrewsbury, Mass.) found the back of the net with 11:25 to play in the contest, as the Springfield College men's soccer program stayed unbeaten with a 2-1 win over WPI in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.

With the win, the Pride, which was ranked No. 5 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III men's soccer regional rankings, improves to 11-0-1 to start the year. Springfield College is now just one of nine Division III men's soccer programs in the nation that have not surrendered a loss in 2016. With the setback, WPI falls to 7-2-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

With under 12 minutes in regulation and the game even at one goal apiece, junior midfielder Danny Murphy (Old Saybrook, Conn.) unleashed a shot on cage, which was originally stopped, but Haji picked up the rebound and found the back of the net to give the Pride a late one-goal lead. Springfield College was able to fend off a late rally from the Engineers to seal it's 11th win of the year. The Pride is now unbeaten through its last 15 games, dating back to last November.

The game started just as it finished, with a Springfield College goal, as sophomore forward Christian Schneider (Douglas, Mass.) gave the Pride an early 1-0 lead just 59 seconds into the contest when he headed a deflected shot into the back of the net. 

Midway throught the first half, WPI evened the score at one when Brendan Nemes (Kingston, Mass.) finished a cross sent in from Spencer Ralphs (Simsbury, Conn.) with 22:13 to play in the opening stanza.

The two sides played back-and-forth soccer for a majority of the second half, but the Pride was pressing the cage in the late stages, as the visitors produced a pair of shots from both Luke Alvaro (Chicopee, Mass.) and Murphy in the minutes leading up to Haji's game winner.

Senior goalkeeper Zach Richard (Millbury, Mass.) was phenomenal in between the pipes, as he made a pair of saves in the win, while his counterpart, Connor Hoeckele (Granby, Conn.), made four stops and took the loss. Springfield College held an 11-9 shot advantage, and a 5-1 margin in corner kicks on the evening.

Up next, Springfield College will return to Brock-Affleck Field on Monday, October 10 when it will host Western New England at 11 a.m.