BENNINGTON, Vt. – A self-pass and ensuing header by Southern Vermont College men's soccer senior Pierre Massena (West Milford, N.J.) in the 99th minute gave the Mountaineers a 3-2 overtime victory over visiting Bard College Wednesday afternoon on Everett field in non-league play.
The win, SVC's first of the year, ties the all-time series between the two at 6-6-1. Mountaineer senior Derek Snow (Centerville, Mass.) had two goals in the game, his second and third of the season.
The match saw a physical opening five minutes with a lot of back-and-forth action in the middle third of the field. Bard took its outside chances, but never had anything too solid to take advantage of. Mountaineer junior Erik Argueta (Pico Rivera, Calif.) had a great opportunity early on when he took a pass from sophomore Ruben Olivares (Pico Rivera, Calif.) and went strongly into the left side of the box. Trying to put a shot across the frame, the ball went just wide and kept SVC off the board.
Southern Vermont would have another good look in the 13th minute when Argueta again put the ball on frame, but Raptor sophomore keeper Dan Gagne (East Longmeadow, Mass.) came up with a great diving save; the rebound found Mountaineer feet, however Snow couldn't get a good touch on the bouncing ball and shot it over the net. Great defensive play by SVC freshman Taylor Baker (Petersburg, N.Y.) hindered BC's handful of chances and helped keep the score knotted at 0-0.
The Mountaineers finally broke the scoreless tie in the 24th minute when sophomore captain Sean Deegan (Seymour, Conn.) crossed a ball that was knocked away by Gagne and ended up bouncing in a scramble before Snow drove through with his first of the match. The Raptors responded about two minutes later off a corner kick that found freshman Tamaki Chiba (Tochigi, Japan) on the right side of the box; he was able to lace a nice shot that found the back of the net, his second goal of the year. Southern Vermont would continue to work the right side of the field and play crossing balls in behind the Bard defensive line, but the Mountaineers failed to finish as the half wore to an end.
Bard came out of the break with good tempo and solid ball control, getting chances in the box that were put right at SVC junior keeper Brenden Shea (North Providence, R.I.). At the 57:42 mark, freshman Austin Higgins (Toms River, N.J.), who helped general the Raptor offense all game, got his head on the end of a corner kick by senior Christian Letourneau (Saco, Maine) to give Bard the 2-1 go-ahead. SVC came right back with high pressure in the following five minutes, but never really got good looks at the goal. BC started to pack the defense towards the center of the backfield, leading to blocked Mountaineer shots through the middle portion of the second half. With less than 20 minutes to play, the Southern Vermont defense started to push up the field more, creating opportunities for the Raptors in transition. It would pay off for SVC, however, as Olivares carried the ball down the left side and played a centering pass to an open Snow who banged it home for the equalizer in the 77th minute. Each team had its share of chances as regulation time ticked down, but neither could capitalize as the match headed to the extra period.
The Mountaineers would not allow fatigue to be a factor after playing the same 11 for the entire second half. Massena, who had been in the SVC defensive unit for a majority of the game, found himself with an opportunity up top in the early going of the overtime, but he pushed the ball just wide of the frame. Southern Vermont continued to control possession and work the ball, allowing Argueta to play a nice pass to Olivares who also played it just off the goal. Not long after, Massena took a pass from the midfield and carried it in as he went shoulder-to-shoulder with a Bard defender; the senior captain flicked the bouncing ball over Gagne, maneuvered around the keeper and jumped onto the ball to put it away for the game-winner and his first of the season.
Shea (1-3) had 10 saves in the win while Gagne (1-6) turned away four Mountaineer shots on the day.
Southern Vermont (1-6) looks to its New England Collegiate Conference opening match on Saturday when the Mountaineers visit Lesley University for a 3:30 p.m. match, and Bard (1-6) takes a week off before hosting Green Mountain College next Tuesday, September 24 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.