CAMBRIDGE, MA – Lesley University dropped a physical 2-1 decision to visiting Eastern Nazarene College thanks to two early Lions goals in both teams' season openers Friday night at Edward Field.
A Makenzie Lukas (Reno, NV/Reno) header on a cross from 2011 NECC assists leader Ari Sinanis (Guilford, CT/Guilford) accounted for the Lynx lone goal.
The highest quality shot of the early going came from Eastern's Pacifique Jabrio (Portland, ME/SMCC), who fired a shot from 25 yards straight on that sailed over the cross bar at 19:04, but the Lions soon stormed away from the Lynx shortly thereafter with two quick scores.
Junior midfielder Edgar Arceo (Minden, NV/Douglas) beat Lynx goalkeeper Nigel Leahy to take a 1-0 lead at 24:22, corralling a loose ball inside the top left of the box and sending it past the diving goalkeeper into the bottom left of the net. The Lions returned less than four minutes later, as a Luis Lopez (Alexandria, VA/TC Williams) blast sailed into the top left off the net just over Leahy's fingers at 28:10.
Lesley had its best opportunities of the half in the closing minutes, when Sinanis fed to a streaking Makenzie Lukas with 2:17 remaining, but Lukas' shot shanked off the right cross bar and out of play. A minute later, senior Darius Koep took a Sinanis pass and sent it wide left from close range, and in spite of outshooting the Lions 8-6 and earning the period's only corner kick, Lesley went into halftime down 2-0.
An inspired Lynx club dominated the ball in the second, cutting its deficit in half in the 66th minute. A Sinanis indirect kick just outside the 18 to the right found Lukas streaking in 10 yards away from the left, and in his first match as a Lynx, Lukas' header found the back of the net inside the left post at 65:49.
With 17:00 remaining Lions keeper Jake Johnson (Mount Bethel, PA/Bangor) made a diving save on a Sinanis strike, and Johnson stoned Nick Mattox on a 1-on-1 breakaway, but it would be the Lynx last quality attempt. Physicality increased in the closing minutes, resulting in a yellow card for each team down the stretch and a 2-1 final in the Lions favor.
Johnson made a match-high five saves for Eastern, and Lesley's Nathan Trucks (Guilford, CT/Coventry) came off the bench for a team-high two saves in the second.
The Lynx outshot the Lions 23-11 on the night, including a 15-5 advantage in the second half. Paul Vasconcelos' club earned all five of the game's corner kicks.
Lesley returns to action Sunday afternoon at Mount Ida.