FAIRFIELD, CT – The Iona College men's soccer team beat Sacred Heart on Wednesday afternoon, 2-1. Mauro Bravo and Lenworth Lopez accounted for the Gaels' two goals and Iona held on despite a late Pioneer push.
Sacred Heart tested goalkeeper Giuliano Santucci almost immediately after the first whistle of the match. Segundo Navarro put two shots on net for the Pioneers in each of the first two minutes, forcing Santucci to make a couple of stops. Bravo and Tomas Jamett each tried their luck in the first 10 minutes, but neither could direct a shot towards the net.
Navarro tried his fourth shot of the afternoon just after the 20th minute, but Santucci corralled it for his third save. The Gaels went without a shot attempt for 30-plus minutes, despite three different corner kick chances. Malcolm Moreno tried his luck with just over five minutes left on the clock; Joshua Inkel made his first stop of the match and the two sides would go to the half scoreless.
Just as they did to begin the match, Sacred Heart tested Santucci right out of the gates to open the second half. The junior made his fourth and fifth saves in the first three minutes of the period. Less than a minute after the fifth save for the Gael goalkeeper, Lopez had a shot ring off the crossbar, nearly breaking the scoreless tie.
Lopez would make things right a couple of minutes later, scoring on assists from Najim Romero and Moreno to give the Maroon & Gold a 1-0 lead. The goal was the fourth of the season for the Rosedale, New York native.
The keepers on both sides would continue to hold serve as time progressed in the match. Both sides traded shots like prizefighters, but both tenders made the stops when necessary. As of the 77thminute, the only blemish for Inkel was the one Iona goal.
Bravo would change that, extending the Gaels' lead to 2-0 with just under 20 minutes left to play in regulation. Freshman Eimantas Lotuzys assisted on the score.
Navarro would make things interesting, making it a one-goal game with 1:51 to play. Iona's defense held up; the Pioneers could not get off another shot and the Gaels managed to close things out at Park Avenue Field.
The Maroon & Gold return to Mazzella Field this Saturday to host the defending NEC Champion Long Island University Sharks. The match will be broadcasted on Iona Insider.
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