SPRINGFIELD, Mass., September 1, 2006 – Albion College and Western New England College (WNEC) opened their 2006 men’s soccer seasons with identical 1-0 victories this evening in the first round of the Springfield College Invitational at SC’s Brock-Affleck Field.
Albion defeated Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) in game #1, while WNEC, ranked ninth in all of Division III in the season's first D3Kicks.com Top 25 Poll, defeated host Springfield College in game #2.
The teams will play again on Sunday (Sept. 3) in pre-determined matches. It will be the Pride vs. Albion in game #1 at 12:00 p.m., followed by ECSU vs. WNEC in game #2 at 2:30 p.m.
The SC Men’s Soccer Invitational is one of four tournaments the Pride is hosting on its campus this weekend. The others are in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and field hockey.
In the opening match, Albion senior midfielder David Knox (Gregory, Mich.) scored the lone goal (unassisted) in the 40th minute of the first half (39:32). Senior goalkeeper Dan Putnam (Williamston, Mich.) made the goal stand up, recording the shutout along with one save. ECSU junior goalkeeper Jay Barney (Mansfield, Conn.) was credited with five saves. Albion outshot Eastern Connecticut, 10-2, although Eastern had six corner kicks to Albion’s one.
In game #2, the game’s lone goal was also scored in the 40th minute. Freshman back Nicholas Zarka (Farmington, Conn.) notched the goal at 39:52 for WNEC. Junior midfielder Michael Stewart (Springfield, Mass.) assisted. Senior Chris Wilk (Derry, N.H.) was credited with four saves and the shutout. Junior B.J. Sturdivant (Wilmington, Del.) had three saves in goal for the Pride.
The Golden Bears, who finished their 2005 campaign with a 21-3 record, a trip to the 'Sweet 16' in the NCAA Division III Tournament, and a final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III ranking of 12th, were involved in a very evenly-played match with SC. The Pride equaled WNEC in shots for the contest, at six apiece, and shots on goal, with four each.
Albion and WNEC are now 1-0, while ECSU and SC fall to 0-1.