Randolph Center, VT -
The VTC Knights fell 2-1 on Saturday afternoon in a disappointing Conference opener on their home field against Central Maine Community College. "We're playing very well in many ways" said VTC Coach Murawski, "but we're struggling to find success in our attacking third. We'll continue to adjust, and I'm confident this team will get there."
VTC started the match conservatively to feel out the Mustang's attack, and when comfortable they could handle what was coming their way, transitioned to a more attacking formation. The Knights repeatedly moved the ball well into their attacking third during, earning three corner kicks in the first half, but the Mustang defense was stingy in the central area, denying the Knights quality goal scoring opportunities, and the half closed scoreless.
Five minutes into the second half, Mustang forward Brian Mendez received a pass at midfield, beat one Knight defender on the left wing and a second inside the 18, and beat the Knight's goalkeeper Jon Alvin with a quality shot to the near post. VTC responded with solid possession play and repeatedly had the Mustang defense under fire. CMCC stayed consistently compact in the center of the field, dispatched VTC's attempts to play balls inside, and minimized the threat from shots the Knights did manage to take.
The Mustangs, typically on fast transitions, created their own goal scoring opportunities in the second half. They seized on a Knights defensive mistake and quickly added players to their attack, CMCC found the back of the net in the 77nd minute to go up 2-0.
The resilient VTC squad kept at it, dominating possession and successfully building the ball up into the attack. Good scoring opportunities remained elusive until midfielder Dave Mattern was fouled in the penalty area in the waning minutes of the match. Freshman Mikell Mikenzie, whose attempts beat Mustang defenders had been repeatedly rebuffed, finally found 1v1 success on a textbook penalty kick that put the Knights back in contention for a draw. It was too little too late. The clock expired two minutes later and the frustrated Knights left the field with a 2-1 defeat showing on the scoreboard.