Nov. 3, 2011
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. - Siena Men's Soccer is heading to the MAAC Quarterfinals and the match wasn't in doubt for long. The Saints erupted for three first half goals and upended defending MAAC Champion Saint Peter's 5-1 Thursday afternoon in the First Round of the MAAC Championships at ESPN's Wide World of Sports.
The Saints (5-9-3), which entered the tournament as the No. 10 seed, advance to play second seeded Iona Friday morning at 11:15 a.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
After scoring just 11 goals in the team's first 16 games this season, the Saints scored at will Thursday. Matt Hemsley got Siena on the board in the fifth minute, heading in a free kick from James Beeston and the Saints never looked back.
Reserve Joshua Vlasich subbed into the game in 32nd minute and quickly helped Siena put the game away. He entered on a corner kick which found his boot at the top of the box. After his initial shot was stopped by Saint Peter's (4-14) keeper Diego Mendoza, Vlasich fired home the rebound.
Four minutes later, Vlasich was the beneficiary of a failed clear and volleyed home a picture-perfect shot from 30 yards out to give Siena a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Saints kept the pressure on into the second half and tacked on two more goals early in the stanza from Daniel Alderstad and David Bonzerato to complete the rout and eliminate the defending MAAC Champions from tournament contention.
The Peacock's Andrew Kelly headed home a rebound off a shot that hit the crossbar in the 77th minute to give Saint Peter's its only highlight.
Saint Peter's out-shot the Saints 11-10, although Siena held a 10-4 edge in corners.
Entering today's match, each of Siena's games this season had been decided by one goal or less. The four-goal margin of victory was Siena's largest since a 7-1 victory late last year against Saint Peter's.
Not to be overlooked, Siena keeper Jack Binks was exceptional once again in goal. He made all four of his saves during the first half, but none bigger than his stop in the 34th minute.
Off the ensuing kickoff following Vlasich's first goal that made it 2-0, Siena was whistled for a foul in the box setting up a penalty kick. The Peacocks' Harry Newman fired a bullet along the ground to the right but Binks made a tremendous diving save to his left, knocking the ball out of bounds.
The victory sets up tomorrow's showdown with Iona. Three weeks ago, Siena upset then 16th ranked Iona 1-0 in double overtime in Loudonville on a golden goal by Alderstad. The Gaels enter tomorrow's matchup ranked once again, this time checking in at No. 24 in the latest NSCAA Coaches' Poll.