LEICESTER, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's soccer team exploded in the second half and scored four goals, including a pair from sophomore forward DeAnte Anderson (Bloomfield, Conn.), to come from behind and defeat the Becker College Hawks, 4-1, Wednesday afternoon in non-conference action on Alumni Field. With the victory, the Blue Jays improve to 4-1-0, while the Hawks slip to 1-5-0.
The Blue Jays were in control of the majority of possession, and were the aggressor for most of the game despite an early score by Becker. USJ nearly struck first though at the 22:17 mark. Sophomore Domeniko Skrelja (Ulcinj, Montenegro) flicked a pass wide to classmate Kayden Parrilla (Windham, Conn.), who gathered in space along the right wing. After a couple of touches, Parrilla sent a cross into Becker's penalty area, and found the head of freshman Benjamin Marchetti (Higganum, Conn.), who sent it towards the goal, but it just missed the upper left corner of the frame, resulting in a goal kick.
Moments later off the ensuing goal kick, the Hawks would score to take an early 1-0 lead. Becker's junior keeper Sam Majewski (Warren, Mass.) boomed the ball to midfield, and a carom found freshman Derrick Audain (North Brunswick, N.J.). Audain played a ball up to sophomore Isaiah McCaskill (Springfield, Mass.) along the left wing, and Audain raced up the field following his pass. The effort would be rewarded, as he received a nice touch pass back from McCaskill inside the USJ penalty area and on his first touch, he fired a shot that beat USJ's senior keeper Joseph Boland (Rhinebeck, N.Y.) near post to give the hosts the early advantage.
Sophomore Hayden Burbank (Southington, Conn.) nearly evened the game less than five minutes later. Following a throw-in to Marchetti, he laid a pass off to Burbank, who used some fancy dribbling to make Becker defenders miss, then instantaneously sent a shot from just outside the box. It looked good all the way, curling and angling down, but was a bit too high and caromed off the crossbar. Marchetti had a near-miss despite being wide-open on the rebound, but Mejewski sprung up from the ground, after leaping to try and save Burbank's shot. He was able to get a hand on it and punch the ball over the bar.
The Blue Jays would tie things up early in the second half, as they continued to consistently apply pressure on the Hawks. Sophomore forward Daniel Castro (Willimantic, Conn.) laid a pass back to Burbank along the right wing. Burbank collected, looked up, and curled a cross toward the center of the penalty area. There he found Anderson, who leaped over a pair of Becker defenders, meeting the ball at the perfect height, and redirected it precisely into the bottom left corner of the goal. It marks back-to-back games for Anderson with a header goal.
Saint Joseph got the eventual game-winner in the 54th minute, and for the second straight game, it would be Anderson once again. Skrelja played a long ball up to Castro, who passed back to junior captain Gaetano LaBella (Wethersfield, Conn.). LaBella chipped a pass across the 18-yard line to Anderson at the penalty spot, who was double-teamed but still managed to get the first touch on the pass, sneaking it past both defenders. It forced Majewski to leave his line, and Anderson took a touch out wide to pass Majewski and finished easily into a wide-open net.
USJ would add two more goals in the second half to pull away for the 4-1 victory. Castro and Marchetti both scored from close range in the four-goal second half. It marked the second goal of the season for Castro, who found the back of the net in the 83rd minute, and the first career goal for Marchetti, who iced it in the 86th minute.
Boland (2-1-0) picked up the win between the pipes for the Blue Jays finishing with four saves. Majewski (1-5-0) was dealt the loss for the Hawks in net and stopped nine of 13 shots he faced on goal.
Saint Joseph controlled play throughout and outshot Becker 26-11, including 14-5 in shots on goal. They also shutout the corner kick battle, 11-0.
The USJ men's soccer team plays its first game on the newly-renovated turf USJ Soccer Field Saturday, when they host Lasell University in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match. Kick-off between the Blue Jays and Lasers is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.