Men's Soccer Blanked 4-0 at Bates College

Men's Soccer Blanked 4-0 at Bates College

LEWISTON, Maine -- A senior captain and three freshmen scored as Bates men's soccer team won its third straight game, and for the fourth time in its past five contests, with a 4-0 non-conference triumph over visiting Curry College on Monday at Russell Street Field.

The visiting Colonels (8-5-1) allowed four goals for the second time this season in seeing their own three-game win streak come to an end.

Bates (4-7-1) has rebounded from an 0-6-1 start to the season, with just two goals scored in those first seven games, scoring 18 goals in their past five.

Curry was not without its fair share of scoring opportunities, but Bates goalie Sam Polito made six saves, several from close range, to preserve the Bobcats' fourth shutout of the season. Sophomore Jack Anderson played the final 6:31 in net in the team shutout.

Four different players scored for Bates, led off by senior captain Aaron Nickelsberg's first tally of the season in the 10th minute. Bates was awarded a free kick just outside the Curry penalty area, from about 20 yards away from the Curry goal, and Nickelsberg shot around the Curry wall, managing to tuck his shot inside the right post for a 1-0 lead.

Bates freshman Justin Yacovino had two outstanding opportunities in the first 13 minutes that went unconverted. In the seventh minute, a cross on the right side from Peabo Knoth found its way to Yacovino directly in front of the Curry goal. Yacovino touched it just before Curry goalie Dan Johnson did, but the goalie got in the way of Yacovino's shot attempt. In the 14th minute, Johnson made a diving save on Yacovino's chance to settle and shoot on the left side of the box.

The Bobcats made it 2-0 in the 28th minute. Amid a crowded penalty area, Lee Sandquist's close-range shot was deflected by Johnson and popped into the air. Sandquist headed the rebound to freshman Max Watson, who found the back of the net from 5 yards out for his fourth goal of the season.

Bates scored its third goal in the first half for the second time this season in the 35th minute, with a pair of freshmen doing the honors. Sal Sprofera sent a through ball from middle of the Curry half of the field to Nate Merchant near the right corner of the penalty area. Merchant advanced the ball a couple of yards before chipping a shot over Curry's defense and under the crossbar for his third goal. 

In Bates' past five games, Watson has scored all four of his goals and Merchant has netted all three of his.

Darkness threatened to shorten the game's final minutes, but not before a third freshman, Justin Pertierra, tallied his first collegiate goal to make it 4-0. Working against a sagging Curry defense, Pertierra finished a long carry into the penalty area from the left wing and fired a low rocket past Colonels substitute goalie Andrew Knighton.

Knighton played the second half in net for Curry and went without a save. Johnson made four saves in the first half.

Bates plays at NESCAC rival Middlebury on Saturday at 12pm.  Curry hosts Rhode Island College on Wednesday at 7pm.  (Game Recap Courtesy of Bates Sports Information)