Tufts 1, Springfield 1  (2ot)

At Springfield, MA
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Game Box Score

Stratos Saropoulos' first career goal earned Tufts a tie

SPRINGFIELD -- The first collegiate goal scored by sophomore Stratos Saropoulos (Somerville, MA) was a big one, helping the Tufts men's soccer team to its first point of the season in a 1-1 tie at Springfield College on Wednesday evening. The goal came with just 2:10 remaining in regulation and sent the game into overtime.

The Jumbos improve to 0-3-1, while Springfield now stands at 2-4-1.

Despite having the same amount of shots (6) as the Jumbos in the first half, Springfield controlled the tempo of play in the opening stanza. The duo of Eric Stalsburg and Cody Kaczetow attacked the Tufts defense and Stalsburg finally struck in the 36th minute. After Casey Leslie let loose a shot that was deflected out of bounds, Springfield was awarded a corner kick. Off the corner kick, Joe Baia sent in a hard, driven ball into the box. Stalsburg headed the ball into the lower left corner of the net to give Springfield the first goal of the match.

The visiting Jumbos played with a high sense of urgency in the second half, out-shooting the Pride, 5-3, and using plenty of physical play up front. The Jumbos' intensity finally paid off as they netted the game-tying goal in the waning minutes of regulation. With just 2:10 remaining, Saropoulos made the most of a Springfield miscue in the defensive third. After senior Dan Schoening (Kenmore, WA) flicked a header inside the 18 yard box, Saropoulos blasted a shot into the back of the net, knotting the game at a goal apiece.

Springfield nearly scored the game-winner with just over a minute remaining in the first overtime after David Kotulski sent a terrific through ball onto a streaking Kaczetow. Kaczetow slid as he let a shot off inside the six yard box, but his attempt went just wide right of the goal.

Tufts had the two best chances in the second overtime for either team as sophomore Matt Blumenthal (Simsbury, CT) nearly gave the visitors the victory on two separate occasions. With seven minutes remaining, Blumenthal got loose at the top of the box, however, Springfield's David Chessen used an outstanding individual defensive effort to thwart the Jumbo attack. Four minutes later, Tufts junior Ron Coleman (North Haven, CT) sent a ball along the endline into the box to a wide open Blumenthal, whose shot ricocheted off the cross bar.

The game that was played very evenly statistically, as Tufts had 14 shots compared to the Pride's 13. The visitors held a slight 7-5 edge in corner kicks, while Springfield was flagged for eight off-sides. Chris Walton made six saves for the Pride, while senior tri-captain Pat Tonelli (Andover, MA) needed to make just three saves for the Jumbos.

Next for the Jumbos is a NESCAC match at Wesleyan on Saturday (Sept. 26) at 2:30 pm. The Pride will return to action on Saturday afternoon when it travels to WPI for a conference clash slated for 6:00 pm.