BOSTON, Mass.— The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's soccer team played to a 1-1 tie with Emmanuel College (EC) on Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action at Roberto Clemente Field.
The Blue Jays (10-5-1, 6-3-1 GNAC) controlled the first half, scoring in the 39th minute off a killer free kick from freshman midfielder Mergim Kutllovci (Thomaston, Conn.) from just outside the box to take a 1-0 lead into the half. It was the ninth goal of 2019 for Kutlovci. In the second half, the Saints (8-7-1, 5-4-1 GNAC) became the aggressor and evened the match at 1-1 in the 55th minute, when sophomore midfielder Alec Erskine (Coventry, Conn.) found the back of the net for a team-leading 11th goal of the season, with help from classmate and forward Kyle King (Gorham, Maine.).
Both teams traded shots back and forth, hoping to cash in, but neither could find the back of the net for the next 55 minutes. It is the first draw of 2019 for both teams. Both goalies picked up three saves each in addition to a goal allowed; freshman John Griffin (Southington, Conn.) and senior Jonathan Ferrarini (Hanover, Mass.). The Saints also celebrated their senior day on Saturday.
By the numbers, both teams were pretty even. Emmanuel held a slim 10-8 shots advantage (4-4 shots on goal), but the Blue Jays held an 8-6 corner kicks advantage. USJ was unable to get a shot off in the first overtime, with the Saints getting two shots off (92nd and 98th minute), both were off target.
Kutlovci had another chance seconds into double overtime, but the shot went high. Emmanuel had two corner kicks late in the final overtime period (107th and 109th minute), but did not get a shot on goal off of them. Both teams now enter the final week of the season looking to finish strong before the always competitive GNAC postseason tournament gets going.
The Blue Jays control their own destiny in their final game of the season at home next Wednesday, October 30, at 3:00 p.m. against intrastate rival Albertus Magnus. A win will guarantee a home game in the GNAC Postseason Tournament Quarterfinals.
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