Men's Soccer Tops UMass Lowell in NE-10 Semis, Advances to Final Sunday
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Chris Tsonis (Dartmouth, Mass.) scored twice to lead second-seeded Southern New Hampshire University to a 3-2 win over No. 3 seed UMass Lowell in the semifinals of the Northeast-10 Men's Soccer Championship Friday night at Larkin Field. The Penmen, who won their 14th straight match, improve to 17-2 and will face top-seeded Franklin Pierce Sunday afternoon at 1:00 at FPU's Sodexo Field in the championship match. The River Hawks likely see their season come to a close at 11-7 overall.
SNHU jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead behind Tsonis' two goals. His first goal came at the 32:11 mark when the Penmen were awarded a penalty kick after Tsonis was brought down inside the six-yard box. He converted the kick, his third of the season, for his 15th goal of the season. SNHU struck again when River Hawk keeper Connor Askins came out and Jordan Branco (Norton, Mass.) flicked the ball over to Tsonis who buried it in the open net. Miguel Carneiro (New Milford, Conn.) also assisted on the goal.
UMass Lowell would get a goal back with just over 20 minutes to play when NE-10 Rookie of the Year Homero Morais slid a ball low from the top of the 18 inside the left post. Southern New Hampshire reclaimed a two-goal advantage at the 79:47 mark when Branco collected a loose ball in the box, spun and fired after Askins had come out to play a cross.
The River Hawks cut the lead to 3-2 with just over a minute remaining when Felipe Fagundes' shot inside the right post off a restart got past a diving SNHU keeper Joey Kapinos (Ludlow, Mass.).
Both goalies notched one save apiece as the Penmen outshot the River Hawks 16-11. UMass Lowell generated an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Franklin Pierce handed SNHU their last loss this season, a 2-1 overtime triumph in Manchester on September 17. Southern New Hampshire is making its fourth appearance in the NE-10 title game and has captured the title in each of its first three appearances (2000, 2002, 2008). The Ravens are the defending tourney champions and are making their fifth title game appearance. They also captured the tournament title in 2006.