BUFFALO, N.Y.- A hat-trick from sophomore Callum Willmott propelled the Niagara men's soccer team to a 3-2 Battle of the Bridge victory over Canisius on Saturday evening.
Willmott found the back of the net on three separate occasions, scoring a pair in the opening half and adding the game-winning tally in the 83rd minute of play to help the Purple Eagles (8-0-4; 2-0-1 MAAC) extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games, tying the program record.
"It was a great game between two very good teams,” head coach Chase Brooks said. “We got the result and now we’re really looking forward heading into conference play next week with Siena and Marist on the road. The guys battled really hard and came together to get the result.”
Willmott starting off the scoring in the 16th minute of play after beating Canisius (7-4-2; 0-3-0 MAAC) keeper Kareem Gray with a low, right corner shot off an assist from junior Ken Cooper. In the 30th minute of play, the Golden Griffins responded with a tally of their own off the foot of Gavin Falconer, but Willmott quickly helped the Purps regain the lead two minutes later, grabbing his second goal of the game off an assist from rookie Darren Cooper.
Canisius would even the game at two-apiece with a late second half tally, as Asani Samuels scored his third goal of the year in the 80th minute. It seemed like the game would be heading into extra time, but the Purple Eagles continued to battle and their efforts were rewarded three minutes later. Senior Bryan Da Cruz lofted a cornerkick into the box that connected with the head of Willmott for the sophomore's ninth tally of the season.
Goalkeeper Brett Petricek finished the game with three saves.
The Purple Eagles continues its three-game road trip with two conference matchups next weekend, starting with Siena on Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. and wrapping up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. with a battle against Marist on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m.