NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Iona College men's soccer team defeated Long Island University 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. Mauro Bravo, Josh Plimpton and Lenworth Lopez all scored for the Gaels as they improved to 9-1-1 at Mazzella Field since September 8 of last year.
Neither team mustered much of a good chance in the opening 15 minutes of action. Bravo would be the first player from either side to put a shot on net, but his try was stopped by Matias Pesallaccia.
Papa Ndoye tried two shots a little over a minute after Bravo; the first of the two was saved by Gabriel Cinanni and the rebound opportunity sailed over the top of the crossbar. Ndoye would get the Sharks on the board first though, with a goal in the 22nd minute. The second goal of the season for the Mbour, Senegal native came on a free run up the field where he deked out Cinanni twice and grounded a shot past a sliding defender into the net.
Robin Klaas exited the game after getting tangled up on the play and gave way to substitute Christian Geddes. Geddes manned the outside portion of the backline and senior Malcolm Moreno shifted towards the middle. With this change, the Gaels were able to stifle Ndoye's long runs for most of the match.
Iona's Francesc Chulia fired a laser on a pass that bounced towards him, which was stopped in self-defense by Pesallaccia, resulting in a corner for the Gaels. After a prolonged possession in the Sharks' defensive zone, a handball eventually allowed Iona a great chance from just outside the box. Bravo took the free kick and buried the shot in the upper corner of the net with his left foot to even the score at 1-1. The match would go into the half tied.
The Maroon & Gold continued to control the possession as the match progressed into the second half. Najim Romero and Esad Mackic had good chances but were stopped by the keeper. Plimpton would find the goal that gave Iona its first lead of the afternoon; he skipped a shot past the outstretched arm of the goaltender, his first goal of the season, in the 62nd minute.
The Gaels would send six more shots in the direction of Pesallaccia over the course of the next 20 minutes, with the Iona backline keeping LIU from managing one shot over that time period.
Jacob Villalobos entered the match for LIU in the 81st minute and was called for a penalty in the box just a minute into his tenure. He took down Lopez, who took the PK for the Maroon & Gold and buried it to push Iona's lead to 3-1 with less than 15 minutes to play.
LIU's Kyle Parish would score on a shot from 30-plus yards out, trimming the lead for Iona to just one goal with nine minutes to go. The Gaels closed out the match without issue and improved to 2-0 on their home pitch this season.
Iona plays at Fairleigh Dickinson on October 2 at 7 PM. The Gaels defeated the Knights 3-1 last season at Mazzella Field, but have lost the last three games played in Teaneck, New Jersey.
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