NEWTON, Mass. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's soccer team scored the first three goals of the game to build an early lead and held off a late charge by the Lasell College Lasers to win, 3-2, in a road Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match at Taylor Field on Tuesday afternoon. With the victory, the Blue Jays improve to 6-2-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the GNAC in their inaugural season, while the Lasers slip to 2-6-2 and 1-5-2. USJ will be back in action next with another GNAC match on Saturday at home versus Rivier beginning at 2:30 p.m.
The Blue Jays struck first in the 11th minute to open the scoring and take an early 1-0 lead. Freshman Daniel Castro (Willimantic, Conn.) netted his team-leading seventh goal of the season for USJ as Lasell's junior keeper Jackson Burhans (Berlin, N.Y.) came out too far to try and stop the ball, and Castro was able to walk it into the empty net at the 10:34 mark.
After a foul by the Lasers inside the penalty area in the 15th minute, the Blue Jays earned a penalty kick and had a chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Sophomore captain Gaetano LaBella (Wethersfield, Conn.) chose the low left corner as his target, but Burhans made a diving save to keep it 1-0.
However, that 2-0 lead would still be achieved a few minutes later when freshman DeAnte Anderson (Bloomfield, Conn.) stepped up to take another penalty kick, and this one would sneak past Burhans and find the back of the net at the 20:27 timestamp.
Anderson then added to the Blue Jays lead early in the second half with his second marker of the match. The rookie took a breakaway chance all the way and beat the Lasers' keeper to put them up 3-0 in the 51st minute. The multi-goal match is the first for Anderson in his career as he now sits second on the team with four goals on the year.
Lasell's freshman Jake Oullette (East Granby, Conn.) did everything in his power to make sure the Lasers wouldn't go quietly and scored two late goals to energize the Lasers, but ultimately it wasn't enough.
As time started to tick down, Oullette started to heat up. He netted his first goal with 23 minutes remaining off of a beautiful assist by sophomore Simon Nigro (Simsbury, Conn.).
Oullette would then strike again about three minutes later, unassisted, to bring the Lasers within one and make things interesting down the stretch, but USJ's defense would hold strong to secure the 3-2 victory.
Freshman Anes Gadun (Clinton, Conn.) earned the win between the pipes for the Blue Jays and improves to 6-2-1 on the season. He made four saves in the victory. Burhans also made four saves for the Lasers but was dealt the loss and drops to 1-6-2 on the year.
Both teams were even in shots with nine each in the match. The Blue Jays were slightly more accurate and held a slight 7-6 edge in shots on goal. USJ won the corner kick battle with a 7-3 advantage over the Lasers.
The USJ men's soccer team returns back to the pitch next on Saturday afternoon at home in a GNAC clash versus Rivier. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.