Eastern Connecticut 3, Tufts 2  (2OT)

At Mansfield, CT
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Game Box Score

Ron Coleman scored the first goal of the season for Tufts

MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Sophomore transfer Matt Furman (Montville, CT) scored on a low drive from the left of the goal with 22.7 seconds left in sudden death overtime to carry the Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team back from an early deficit and into a 3-2 victory over Tufts University Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Ranked No. 16 nationally and No. 2 in New England in the most recent NSCAA Division III polls released Tuesday, Eastern (4-0-1) erased a 2-0 deficit midway through the first half to stun Tufts (0-2-0) in the first meeting ever between the programs.

First-team All-New England Region senior forward Maxim Fantl (West Hartford, MA) helped carry the Warriors back by answering Tufts' second goal less than a minute later to get the Warriors on the board, then tying the match two minutes into the second half when he finished off a run down the left flank by sending a low shot across the goal and inside the far post.

With time expiring in the 20-minutes sudden death overtime period, Furman took a pass from sophomore Matt Esposito (East Haven, CT) in traffic in the left part of the 18-yard box, turned, and unloaded a hard ground ball that carried across the box and settled inside the far right post with 22.7 seconds left in overtime. A transfer from the University of Rhode Island, Furman also assisted on Fantl's first goal of the match midway through the first half.

The goals were the sixth and seventh of the season for Fantl, who now has 39 goals in 66 career games. He was last year's Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Tufts had taken the lead in the 12th minute when junior Ron Coleman (North Haven, CT) finished off a long kick by senior keeper Pat Tonelli (Andover, MA), and junior Alex Lach (Lexington, MA) pushed the Jumbo lead to 2-0 11 minutes later when he beat Eastern sophomore keeper Carl Appel (West Windsor, NJ) on a long drive.

Lach couldn't cash in on two prime opportunities to end the match in the first four minutes of overtime, however. He first sent a ground ball from the right flank just wide of the left post. Two minutes later, Appel responded with the first of his two best saves in the match when he stretched full out, diving to his right to knock away Lach's bid from the middle of the box. With one minute left in the first overtime, Appel timed his leap perfectly to flick a shot by junior Ben Green (Burlington, VT) over the cross bar.

Tufts nearly broke a 2-2 tie with 15:39 left in regulation, when Lach was unmarked directly in front of the goal and one-timed a pass from Green that sailed over the top.

Tonelli of Tufts matched Appel with several sparkling saves. Twelve minutes into overtime, Furman found space on the right side and sent a high shot that Tonelli knocked over the cross bar. Appel made three saves to improve his record to 3-0-0 this season, 18-4-3 in his 25-game career. Tonelli had six stops.

The Jumbos open their home schedule on Saturday when they host a NESCAC match against Amherst College beginning at 2:30 pm. Eastern hosts Western Connecticut State University Saturday at 1 pm.