Randolph Center, VT - The Vermont Tech men's soccer team on Saturday earned a 3-0 win at home against the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI). The VTC Knights improve to 1-1-0 on the season, while the UMPI Owls are now off to a 0-1-0 start.
The teams were well matched through the first half, with both teams creating several scoring opportunities, but neither finding the back of the net.
The Knights took command of the game in the second half, taking 10 shots and earning 5 corner kicks. Matt Brien (Colchester) got the scoring started in the 52nd minute with a well-placed header over the outstretched hands of the Owl's keeper Matt Manter. Phil Hepburn (Milton, VT) had the assist. The Knights found the net again in the 70th minute when Scott Durkee (Chelsea, VT), attacking from the left, stretched to connect with a crisp thru-ball from Matt Brien at the top of the penalty area. The victory was sealed in the 78th minute when the Knights moved the ball deliberately down the left wing before turning toward goal. Hunter Pockett (Proctor, VT) took possession just inside the penalty area and played it smartly back to Peter Battinelli (Swampscott, MA) just outside the box who drilled it to the far post.
"I'm proud of the group today," coach Matt Murawski said following the game. "We took the field a bit depleted from our match 24 hours earlier, but our players overcame that with a tremendous work ethic. The teams' movement on and off the ball improved as the game progressed, and that led to more scoring opportunities in the second half."
Goalkeeper Jonathon Alvin (Hartford, VT) made his VTC debut. His confident play from his first save and his command of the position throughout the match set the tone for the Knights' performance. He finished with five saves.
Junior Captain David Mattern (South Royalton, VT) controlled the middle of the field for the Knights, stripping possession from attacking Owls on multiple occasions and initiating the team's successful movement out of the backfield and into their attacking half.
The Knights continue their season on Wednesday at 3:30 at Lyndon State, and they return to their home field Friday for a 4:00 match against perennially-strong University of Maine-Fort Kent.