Middlebury 1, Tufts 0

At Middlebury, VT
Saturday, September 12, 2009

Game Box Score

Tri-captain Pat Tonelli and the Jumbos nearly matched #6 Middlebury in a defensive battle

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The Middlebury men's soccer team, ranked #6 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll, opened up its season with a win for the seventh straight year, as the Panthers earned a 1-0 shutout victory over an upstart Tufts University squad.

The NESCAC rivals engaged in a major defensive battle that featured only six shots total. Middlebury had a solid scoring opportunity late in the first half, but rookie Adam Batista was denied from close range by Tufts' keeper Pat Tonelli (Andover, MA). That was one of three Panther shots in the first half, while Tufts did not have one.

The Panthers had a few chances in the second half and cashed in on Tyler Macnee's game-winner in the 50th minute. He broke in all alone and struck a ball over the shoulder of Tonelli into the back of the net from 15 yards out. That would be the game's only tally. Tufts managed its only shot of the game in the second half, by freshman Kameron Jaff (Dubai, UAE).

Tonelli ended the day with a pair of saves for the Jumbos, both in the first half. Ryan Cahill earned the shutout without having to make a save in his first career start for the Panthers. Middlebury finished with a 7-4 edge in corner kicks for the game. A typically hard-played conference game had its share of fouls, with 13 for Tufts and 12 for the hosts.

The Jumbos open their non-league season on Tuesday night when they travel to Eastern Connecticut for a 7:00 start. Middlebury will have little time to rest as they return to action on Sunday at 1:00 when they host UMaine-Fort Kent.