BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Junior Wuilito Fernandes (Praia, Cape Verde) scored the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute, as the UMass Lowell men’s soccer team defeated LIU Brooklyn, 1-0, on the second day of the Astroturf Brooklyn Bridge Cup.
“This team showed a lot of character to bounce back after a 3-0 loss on Friday,” said Head Coach Christian Figueroa. “We came out with a different game plan and did a great job executing it. Coming back home 1-1 after the weekend trip is not the idea scenario, but it puts us back on track heading into next weekend. The effort the boys showed today was the best we’ve seen this season, it was a gritty perfomance all around.”
Fernandes maintained possession dribbling through the Blackbirds’ zone, split two defenders and sent a curling shot from 20-yards out that beat Cole Palmer into the left corner.
UMass Lowell (2-2) ended its two-game losing streak, while LIU dropped to 2-2 on the season.
Both teams played a tight, conservative first half with the River Hawks holding a 2-0 shots on goal advantage, coming off the foot of Edward Venta-Yepes (Lowell,Mass.).
The Blackbirds came out of halftime with momentum, forcing Austin Kroll (Baltimore, Md.) to make two saves in the first six minutes.
After the River Hawks settled down and started to apply pressure on the offensive end, Fernandes made the most of his first opportunity of the game and gave the guests the only lead of the contest.
LIU had its best chance to draw even in the 79th minute when Isak Doumbia stepped to the spot for a penalty kick. The save of the game followed as Kroll guessed the correct way, and dove to the right post to send the ball away from danger.
The Blackbirds came away with a free kick and corner kick in the last half minute of play, but the River Hawk back line played tall, preventing each attempt from causing too much pressure.
Kroll made five saves, all in the second half, to record his second shutout this season, and seventh career blanksheet. Palmer made three saves for LIU. Both teams had nine shots, lead by Venta-Yepes’ four.
St. Francis Brooklyn, who defeated the River Hawks and St. Bonaventure, captured the Brooklyn Bridge Cup title. UMass Lowell and LIU both tied with three points apiece, while the Bonnies were defeated in both contests.
Venta-Yepes, Nana Osei (Ewing, N.J.) and Jay Marchand (North Andover, Mass.) were name to the All-Tournament Team.
The River Hawks return home to Cushing Field for a four-game home stand beginning with a non-conference clash against Buffalo on Friday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. eastern.