SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The fourth-seeded Western New England University men's soccer team erased a two-goal first half deficit before eventually falling to fifth-seeded Nichols College, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament at Suprenant Field.
The win advances Nichols (12-5-2) to the semifinals to face top-seeded Salve Regina in Newport, R.I. on Tuesday. Western New England's season comes to a close at 12-6-2.
Nichols freshman midfielder Nikolas Padilla (Worcester, Mass.) recorded a goal and an assist to lead the way for the Bison. Senior Jacob Sargent (Bolton, Conn.) and freshman Benjamin DeMaio (Branford, Conn.) also found the back of the net.
Western New England had an early opportunity to take the lead as a Nichols defender was whistled for a handball in the box in the sixth minute, but senior forward Charlie Argyle (Plymouth, Mass.) placed his penalty kick attempt wide of the net.
The Bison struck first in the 28th minute, as Padilla received a pass from senior Corey McEvoy (Bohemia, N.Y.) and fired a shot from outside the box into the upper left corner of the net.
Just 17 seconds later, Nichols doubled its advantage when Sargent lofted an attempt over the head of Western New England freshman goalkeeper Ben Mielnikowski (Feeding Hills, Mass.).
The Golden Bears got one goal back before halftime as Prindle created space between several Nichols defenders just outside the box and placed a shot into the lower right corner of the net.
Prindle then set up Remillard for the equalizer in the 54th minute with a long pass that sprung the junior on a breakaway. Remillard was able to outrun several Bison players before beating Nichols senior goalie Juan Carlos De La Cruz (Stamford, Conn.).
The contest remained tied until the late stages of the game, when Nichols regained the lead for good. In the 80th minute, sophomore James Chasco-Dimauro (Rocky Hill, Conn.) was on the receiving end of a cross that was sent into the box. Chasco-Dimauro headed the service away from the net towards DeMaio, who let the ball bounce once before burying the game-winner inside the near post.
• Western New England outshot Nichols 30-10 and held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
• The loss drops the Golden Bears to 4-2 in six all-time meetings with the Bison in CCC Tournament play.