MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team unloaded eight of its 13 first-half shots in the first 17 minutes, scoring three times and cruising to a 4-1 win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the Little East Conference opener for both programs Saturday afternoon at Rick McCarthy Field.
Now 9-1 at home against UMass (4-2-0) under 13th-year Eastern head coach Greg DeVito, Eastern (7-0-0) opened defense of last year's LEC regular-season title with its 14th win over UMass Dartmouth in the last 20 meetings (14-5-1). It was the most goals scored by either team in the series since Eastern's 4-0 victory in a 2011 LEC home semifinal.
Eastern put its first eight shots on goal over the first 17 minutes, with UMD keeper Jake Castro saving five, but the sophomore keeper – last week's LEC Goalkeeper-of-the-Week -- was unable to turn back drives by sophomores Patrick Agyemang (East Hartford) and Will Toomey (Willington) and freshman Andres Mayuri (West Hartford). With Eastern leading 3-1, junior Emmanuel Agyemang (East Hartford) converted his third penalty kick of the season in as many tries 11 minutes into the second half to round out the scoring.
Patrick Agyemang used his footspeed and dribbling skills to give Eastern a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. Freshman defender Jared Caroline (South Windsor) won the ball in front of the Eastern bench and played a long ball down the right sideline toward Agyemang, who needed only a few long strides to get behind UMass's last defender. As he headed toward the end line, he was able to keep possession and shook free from that final defender. With Agyemang threatening to walk in alone, Castro raced out to quell the threat, but as he approached, Agyemang cut inside, took two touches, and deftly sent a left-footer under the sprawling keeper and into the far corner of the net. Patrick Agyemang, last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, added an assist on Mayuri's fourth goal of the season six minutes later. He leads the LEC with eight goals and 19 points.
Castro, who featured a 0.25 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage in leading the Corsairs to four straight wins, made 13 saves, eight in the first half on 13 Eastern shots. Eastern junior Kyle Boutot (Tolland) was credited with two saves in winning his seventh start. Boutot has a 0.32 GAA and .895 save percentage.
Eastern outshot the Corsairs, 30-7, and had a 13-1 advantage in corner kicks, UMD recording its only corner with 4:16 left. The Corsairs' only corner nearly resulted in a goal, however, but senior defender Lucio DePra's header on the perfect cross bounced off the far post. Trailing 3-0, UMass got one back midway through the first half when senior forward Junior Monteiro – stationed in front of Boutot at the near post -- redirected senior midfielder Nate Pacheco's drive past the keeper.
The Warriors hold a 25-3 advantage in goals and have outshot their opponents by better than 3-to-1 this year.
Eastern hosts Elms College Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a non-conference match.