NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College men's soccer team scored an overtime goal to come away with a 1-0 victory over Lesley University in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action on Tuesday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Junior Jason Kirby (Cresskill, N.J.) netted the game-winning goal in the 97th minute to give Mitchell (7-9-0 overall, 5-1-0 NECC) its first win over Lesley since the 2008 season. The Mariners also moved into first place in the NECC standings and clinched a home game for next week's conference tournament.
The match was the regular season finale for Lesley (8-7-2 overall, 3-3-1 NECC), which has also qualified for the NECC Championship Tournament. Six teams will qualify for the tournament, which begins with first round play on October 30.
After a scoreless first half that featured few scoring opportunities for either side, Mitchell came out firing to start the second stanza. The Mariners had three good looks in the opening nine minutes of the period, but Lesley goalkeeper Chase Donley (Elizabethtown, Pa.) was up to the task. After coming in as a substitute at the break, Donley made a pair of stops in a three-minute stretch to keep the match scoreless.
The tide shifted as the match wore on, with Lesley pushing the pace and getting shots on goal. The Lynx had their best chance with 15:30 remaining when a dangerous ball ended up in the Mitchell box, and a shot by Wilton Zuo (Dorchester, Mass.) hit off the crossbar.
Lesley held a 13-5 edge in shots in the second half, but Mitchell goalkeeper Ramazan Sinani (Waterbury, Conn.) made four of his seven saves in the stanza to keep the Lynx off the board.
In overtime, Lesley earned a pair of corner kicks in the 95th minute but couldn't take advantage. Play then moved into Mitchell's offensive end, and a ball cleared by the defense was won in the midfield by senior Zachary Simmons (Coventry, Conn./Coventry/East Catholic). He then slipped a pass through the back line that Kirby caught up to and, with Donley off his line in an attempt to get to the ball first, tucked the ball into the far corner for his third marker of the season.
Donley finished with two saves in just over 51 minutes of work. Starter Nathan Trucks (Guilford, Conn.) played the opening half and also made two stops.
Mitchell will wrap up regular season play on Saturday, October 26 at Regis College at 2:30 p.m.