Hawks defeat UMass Lowell 5-2

November 6, 2013

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Fueled by a three-goal effort from freshman Jeff Tryon, the University of Hartford men’s soccer team netted three unanswered markers in the second half to put down UMass Lowell, 5-2, in the final match of the 2013 regular season at Alumni Stadium Wednesday night. Posting the most wins in league play since 2009 and the third-most in a regular season in the school’s Division I era, the Hawks enter the postseason as the third seed, sporting an overall record of 12-3-3 with a 4-2-1 mark in the America East.

Making the postseason for the second time in three years, the Hawks will host Binghamton, who fell to Albany earlier tonight, in a conference quarterfinal match on Saturday evening (7 p.m.). Last month, the two teams played to a scoreless tie in West Hartford.

In other action around the America East, UMBC defeated Stony Brook to clinch the conference crown and the top seed in the Championship while New Hampshire posted a 2-0 win over Vermont to take the No. 2 spot. The Catamounts enter the postseason tournament as the fourth seed and will host Albany on Saturday.

UMass Lowell concludes its inaugural Division I season at 3-14-1 overall and 1-5-1 in conference action.

Tryon scored twice in the opening stanza, striking in the 14th minute and again in the 32nd minute, but UMass Lowell had an answer for each of his tallies during that stretch. Homero Morais countered in the 26th minute to knot up the game at 1-1 and Wuilito Fernandes erased the River Hawks’ second deficit of the contest with a goal in the 38th minute to tie the score up at 2-2 heading into the halftime break.

Morais’ tally was the first allowed by the Hawks’ defense since a late marker at New Hampshire on Oct. 16. Compiling a school Division I record four-straight shutouts, Hartford went 416 minutes and 53 seconds without conceding a goal.

After the intermission, Hartford turned up the heat, netting three goals within a 20-minute span to grab a commanding three-goal lead over the visiting River Hawks.

Starting that rally was senior David Bernhardsson, who increased his point total to three on the evening with what proved to be the game-winning tally. Already earning an assist on Tryon’s first goal of the match, Bernhardsson found the back of the net in the 54th minute after his blast from 15 yards out was deflected past UMass Lowell keeper Chris Maierle.

Less than 10 minutes after the go-ahead goal, head coach Tom Poitras made the decision to bring Omar Tall and Jon Gil into the match for the first time in the final stanza. That move proved to be a wise one for the third-year head coach as two minutes later, the duo worked together to double the Hawks’ advantage to 4-2.

In the 70th minute, Gil, a senior who was honored in a ceremony prior to the start of the match, sent a cross-field pass to the right side. Tall got his head on the ball, and from eight yards out, he put away his second goal of the season, rewarding Gil with his first career point in the process.

Just about four minutes later, Tryon put the game out of reach, completing the hat trick while pushing the Hawks’ lead to 5-2. Racking up a trio of goals for the first time in his college career, Tryon also compiled the program’s first three-goal effort since 2008 when Carlos Villa scored all three markers in a shutout win against Bryant on September 16.

The five-goal effort is the highest offensive output for Hartford since 2006 when the squad scored a 5-0 home win over Maine on September 27.

Holding a 13-9 second half advantage in shots, Hartford outshot UMass Lowell, 18-17, on the evening and held a 5-2 lead in corner kicks. Between the pipes, freshman David MacKinnon made six saves for his 10th win of the season, needing just one more to tie the school’s rookie record set by Chris Doyle.

Prior to the match, the Hawks’ three seniors – Bernhardsson, Gil and Anthony Santaga, were honored in a Senior Night Ceremony. The trio has helped lead their team to a pair of America East Championships, including an appearance in the title game in 2011.

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