Nov. 11, 2010

Courtesy of Nichols Athletics

DUDLEY, Mass. -
Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore Jon DeCasanova scored in the 27th minute to lead the Warriors to a 1-0 victory over Nichols College in the First Round of the 2010 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship at Vendetti Field Thursday evening. With the win, the Warriors improve to 14-3-3 and advance to the Second Round where they will face host Bowdoin College Sunday, November 14 at 1 p.m. in Brunswick, Maine. Nichols concludes its historic season at 15-4-3.

Eastern Connecticut looked to take an early lead less than six minutes into the game when Cory Tobler sent a free kick from the left side of the box to a scrum in front. It bounced about before a Warriors player at the back post kicked it in for an apparent goal, but Eastern Connecticut was deemed offside.

The Warriors took the lead for good in the 27th minute, however, as DeCasanova converted a cross from Matt Furman. Furman sent the ball into the box from the far right side and DeCasanova came crashing in on the right side to send his shot into the upper left corner.

Eastern Connecticut controlled play through the first half, but the Bison upped the offense in the second stanza to pepper Warriors goaltender Carl Appel with six shots during the frame.

Nichols' best chance of the half came in the 73rd minute when Pat Gaumond (Holden, Mass.) was found wide open at the top of the box and fired, only to have Appel make a leaping punch to deflect the ball over the crossbar. Bison back Ryan Wytrych (Feeding Hills, Mass.) had an attempt off the ensuing corner, but was denied by Appel, and Nichols couldn't convert off the third consecutive corner.

Appel finished with eight saves in the game, while Nichols keeper Brendan Hamilton (North Attleboro, Mass.) stopped a pair of shots. Nichols held a 12-4 advantage in corner kicks, including a 9-0 lead in the second frame.

The Bison conclude their historic season with program records for wins (15) and shutouts (13). They captured their first-ever The Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship and made their NCAA Tournament debut.