WORCESTER, Mass. - Junior Lukas Benedetto scored early in the first half and the Coast Guard defense held strong as they beat WPI 1-0 in a crucial NEWMAC conference game.
The Bears, ranked 23rd in the nation in both the NSCAA and the d3soccer.com poll, were facing one of their stiffest tests this season against the Engineers, who are ranked sixth in New England .
Coast Guard took little time taking the lead after the opening whistle. In the 14th minute sophomore Caelan Harshaw received a pass from freshman Ryan Dandan in the Engineers attacking third. Harshaw then sent a cross to left side of the WPI penalty box where Benedetto headed it home for his third goal of the year.
The Coast Guard defense brought it home for the Bears as they held WPI to seven shots with only four of them being on goal.
Head Coach Chris Parsons commented on the victory saying, "Today's win was a huge one! It locked in our spot in the NEWMAC tournament and went a long way in clinching a higher seed as well. We challenged the seniors to step up today. All six available seniors started, and played very well. Conor Regan had the game of the season for him, and it was great to get John Ray back into the team. Matthew Bogdan and Trey Chamberlain were steady and hard as usual, and Richie Burns commanded his box."
Senior goalkeeper Richie Burns made four saves in the win pushing the Bears record to 4-1 in the NEWMAC conference and 13-1 overall. This was Burns conference leading eighth shutout of the year and the 24t of his career. This shutout was a milestone for Burns as he passed Jim Wimberley (1998-2000) for most career shutouts in school history. Burns continues to have a stellar season for the Coast Guard as he is in the top five in the every statistical category for goalkeepers.
"Congrats to Richie for breaking the all time shutout record at the Coast Guard Academy", commented a proud Coach Parsons.
Freshman goalkeeper Connor Hoeckele made two save in a losing effort dropping the Engineers record to 3-2 in the NEWMAC conference and 11-3 overall.
The Bears return to action this Tuesday, October 21st when they host Eastern Connecticut in a nonconference match. Game time is 6:00 pm