Nov. 14, 2009

Courtesy Hobart Athletics

SWARTHMORE, Pa.—Sophomore Tony Yeboah and first-year Alex Kittelberger scored to lead Hobart to a 2-1 victory over St. Joseph’s College of Long Island in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament at Swarthmore College's Clothier Field Stadium.

With the win, the Statesmen improve to 15-3-2 overall. Hobart will face the winner of the Swarthmore/Merchant Marine match. Sunday's second round match is slated to start at 6 p.m.

The Statesmen controlled possession and tempo for much of the first half, recording 15  shots, but found themselves in a scoreless fight until late in the first half. In the 34th minute, Hobart finally broke through, as Yeboah, assisted by Tommy Hayes, rocketed a shot from the top of the box into the upper-right corner, giving the Statesmen a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the Hobart wasted little time finding the back of the net, scoring just two minutes into the stanza. After a scramble in front of the St. Joseph’s net, Kittelberger gained possession and scored his sixth goal of the season, giving the Statesmen a 2-0 advantage.

In the 54th minute, the Eagles’ Steven Zack dribbled around Hobart goalkeeper Charlie Hale and had an open look at the goal, but a Statesmen defender made a sliding save on the goal line, thwarting the scoring chance.

But in the 71st minute, Zack got another opportunity, and this time he converted. Off a Hobart goal kick, Zack beat the defense and blasted a ball past the Hobart goalkeeper for his 15th goal of the season, to cut the Hobart lead to 2-1. But that was as close as the Eagles would get.

Hale made three saves, while St. Joseph’s goalkeeper Michael Dougherty kept his squad in the match with 17 saves.

Hobart finished with a 43-11 edge in shots and 21-3 advantage in shots on goal.

This is the third consecutive season the Statesmen have won their NCAA Tournament opener.