By Seth Wilson
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior captain Alejandro Lopez (East Boston, Mass) put home a cross five minutes into overtime Saturday afternoon at Panther Field to propel UMass Boston’s men’s soccer team to a 3-2 upset of Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference match.
This victory for UMB marks the first time the Beacons have defeated the Panthers in 11 years, since the two teams tied in 1992, 0-0. UMB improves to 4-1-0 on the season (1-0-0 in conference play), while PSU drops its second straight to fall to 5-3-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the LEC.
The first half was dominated by the home team, as PSU scored twice and outshot UMB 8-2. Senior Sebastian Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) started the scoring at the 30-minute mark with a beautiful individual effort for his second goal of the season. Just two minutes later junior Steve Balgach (Fairfield, Conn) hit a free kick, which found the foot of senior captain Nick Libera (Cromwell, Conn), who hit it home to push the lead to 2-0 going into the half.
The second half looked like the Panthers were going to increase the lead, but UMass Boston answered with a pair of goals. Sophomore Mike Reda (Medford, Mass.) got the Beacons on the board in the 69th minute, assisted by junior James Ocampo. UMB tied it up less than 10 minutes later with an unassisted goal from Chris Curtin (Ocala, Fla.), setting up Lopez’s overtime winner.
Senior Jayson Smith (Northwood, N.H.) made two saves in the Panther net while freshman Rich DaSilva (Townsend, Mass.) made six saves to earn the win for the Beacons.
Plymouth State travels to LEC foe Eastern Connecticut next Saturday (2:00 p.m.). UMass Boston hosts Salem State on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.).
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