KEENE, N.H. – Two late goals by junior Alex Ratzan propelled No. 1 Tufts University Men's Soccer to a 3-1 victory at Keene State on Wednesday evening at the Owl Athletic Complex.
|Junior Alex Ratzan tallied two late goals in the win.|
With the win, the Jumbos improve to 3-0-0 overall. The Owls suffered their first loss of the season and fall to 3-1-0.
The Jumbos struck quickly on the back of junior Travis Van Brewer's second goal of the season. Senior Gavin Tasker ran down a thru-ball which was on the right side of the box. He collected the loose ball and waited for Van Brewer to crash the goal. Tasker threaded the pass to the top of the box and Van Brewer fired a left-footed shot by the Owl goalkeeper Anthony Pasciuto.
Tufts earned some attacking zone time that resulted in corner kicks, but nothing came of the opportunities. The Owls then responded with a golden opportunity. Emmanuel Smith ran down a through ball at the end line. He earned enough free space to fire a left-footed shot from just inside the right side of the box. His high arcing shot bounced off the top of the crossbar.
In the 23rd minute, the Jumbos had two shots that were on goal and were great opportunities to extend the lead. Sophomore Ian Daly fired a shot that deflected off the post. That resulted in a corner kick which gave senior Brett Rojas an opportunity, but that shot was saved. A shot by Ratzan forced Pasciuto to make a diving save in the 32nd minute.
The Jumbos returned to the early attack in the beginning of the second half as they earned two corner kicks within the first five minutes of play. The first found Rojas' head which he directed on goal and forced the Owl goalkeeper to make a leaping save.
The Owls quickly responded to the early second half Jumbo opportunity with a corner kick of their own. The kick was headed away by Tufts, but a quick service by Keene State gave Benny Tamzarian a header opportunity that forced junior Will Harned to stretch out to his right to keep the game tied.
The Owls did capitalize on their next opportunity however, as James McCully beat Harned with a header from Noah Spaulding in the 54th minute. That tied the game at one. Keene State earned another opportunity just 20 seconds later which forced Harned to make a save on a diving header by Connor Downey.
Junior Max Jacobs nearly broke the tie when he earned free space to get a clean shot away. His shot came from his right foot to the bottom left of the goal and forced Pasciuto to make a diving save. Another golden opportunity for the Jumbos came just minutes later as Jacobs drove down to the end line and won a loose ball. He waited and found Tasker crashing, and his quick shot forced the Owl goalkeeper to make a sprawling save. That resulted in a corner kick that found a Tutfs player, but went wide.
The teams traded opportunities with less than 20 minutes to play. The first came from Keene State and Smith who fired a shot wide to the right from just outside the box. The counter from that play gave the Jumbos an open shot from just inside the box from Ratzan that went high.
In the 80th minute, the Jumbos would finally break through to take the lead back. After numerous shots and attempts in and around the box, Tasker sent a cross to the right corner. Rojas found open space to fire a shot that was deflected to Ratzan with a near empty goal in front of him and he scored his first of the year. Just a minute later, Ratzan struck again to extend the lead to 3-1 for the Jumbos.
Harned earned the win and is now 3-0-0 on the season. He made two saves on three shots on goal. Tufts recorded 18 shots, 13 on goal in the win. Pasciuto made 10 saves in the losing effort and is now 2-1-0. Nate Howard came on late to split time for the Owls and did not face a shot.
The Jumbos are next in action on Saturday when they host Brandeis at Bello Field. Start time is scheduled for 7 pm. The Owls will travel to Elms on Saturday for a 1 pm start.