BANGOR, Maine – Rookie Cai Pritchard secured a 3-1 victory for the Eagles (5-10-0) over the Northern Vermont University-Badgers (6-7-1, 2-5-0 NAC) on Husson's Homecoming as he recorded his first collegiate hat trick to improve the Husson men's soccer record to 4-2-0 in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC).
IN THE ACTION:
After firing two shots on frame, the Eagles hit home on Homecoming, as Ben Shumway chipped the ball up over the remaining NVU-Johnson defenders to an oncoming Pritchard. The rookie slyly lifted the ball up over the fast-approaching goalie's head and watched it slip just under the crossbar for a 1-0 advantage nearly halfway through the opening frame.
NVU-Johnson looked to even the score with ten minutes remaining in the half, as Marquiss Cruz sent the Badgers' first shot of the afternoon towards the back post, but was denied by Husson goalkeeper Benjamin Powell tipping the shot out of bounds for a corner. The Badgers' lost their momentum as the corner flew over everyone's heads resulting in a Husson ball.
With 41:33 on the clock, the Eagles had another chance in front of the net as a scuffle in the goal box resulted in the goalie coming out and an open net. Avery Pomerleau jumped into the mix striking a low shot towards the middle of the net, but NVU-Johnson defender Adrian Popowycz stepped in making a huge defensive stop on the goal line to knock the ball back out of the danger zone. Heading into the intermission, Husson held the 1-0 lead.
Adding onto their lead in the opening minutes of the second half, Husson's Jarod Bolton was brought down in the box resulting in penalty kick. Forward Pritchard stepped up to the challenge after scoring the first goal of the game, and rocked a direct shot to the middle of the net which was stopped by NVU-Johnson goalie Zach Blaser. The Badger keeper couldn't quite get a grasp on the hard kick as he dove to the left, knocking the ball back towards the penalty mark. Immediately jumping into action and the closest to the ball, Pritchard knocked a half-volley with ease into the right side of the open net to put the Eagles up 2-0 with plenty of time left in the second half.
Securing his first collegiate hat trick, Pritchard once again followed up on his own rebound. With 18 minutes left to play, Pritchard received a pass across the box, and looked towards goal. Blaser deflected the first shot nearly bouncing through his legs as he came off his line to cut the angle, but the first-year found the rebound right at his feet, pushing his third goal of the afternoon past two diving defenders into the back of the net.
With less than two minutes before the final whistle, Badger Aibek Allan Bijanov snuck one past the Husson goalie to cut the score to 3-1 as the Eagles picked up the win.
Remarks from Coach Penny, "I am very pleased about the way we played today. It was a very professional and committed performance from the group as a whole. I sensed a lot of frustration from the opposition and we did well to manage that. We were patient and controlled the ball well. It was good to see a positive response after last weekend's disappointment. I am happy for Cai that he scored his first collegiate hat trick. He has had to be patient and it was well deserved based on his recent performances."
IN BETWEEN THE POSTS:
Powell improved his record in net to 4-3 this season with the victory while recording one save throughout the 90 minutes of play. On the other end, Blaser picked up five stops in the matchup.
The Husson men's squad has a full weekend of games as they host Western New England on Sunday, October 20th for their final non-conference matchup of the season. The game is set to start at 2:30 p.m.