New Haven, Conn. – Junior midfielder Matt Mueller (Cheshire, Conn.) scored two goals to lead the Albertus Magnus College men's soccer team past visiting Rivier, 2-0, on Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action at Celentano Field. With their second straight win, the Falcons improve to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in league play, while the Raiders drop to 1-5 on the year and 0-3 in conference tilts.
Mueller's first career multi-goal game fueled Albertus Magnus to its second conference win of the season as the Falcons pulled away in the second half. Over the final 45 minutes, the hosts controlled the pace, scored a pair of markers and maintained possession. A strong effort in the midfield and by the defensive backline helped the squad earn its second consecutive blank sheet.
Early in the second stanza, Mueller broke a scoreless tie with his first marker of the day and of the season. Off a free kick taken by junior midfielder Alex Zapata (Hamden, Conn.), sophomore Justyn Broderick (Orange, Conn.) flicked the ball on with his head and Mueller buried a shot from the middle of the box through traffic. Broderick earned his second helper of the fall on the eventual game-winner.
Later in the second half, Mueller gave the hosts a little breathing room with his second goal of the contest. After the Falcons won the ball in the midfield, Zapata played a through ball to a cutting Milton Calderon (New Haven, Conn.). Calderon came in uncontested and took Raider junior goalkeeper Gary Archambault off his line before finding an uncovered Mueller in front of the net for the score in the 85th minute. On the tally, Zapata set the play up with a perfect ball for the second time in the game and Calderon registered his first point of the season.
Minutes before Mueller's second marker, Rivier threatened to knot the tilt at one. After a foul was called on the Falcons just outside the box, Raider junior midfielder Kyle Gambeski stepped up for a free kick. After the players lined up, Gambeski fired a low shot under the leaping wall of Albertus Magnus defenders that Falcon freshman goalkeeper Joe Russo (North Haven, Conn.) turned aside with a diving effort.
In goal, Russo made three saves in his first collegiate start to earn the victory for Albertus Magnus. On the opposite end, Archambualt stopped three shots in a losing effort for the Raiders.
Albertus held a 17-8 advantage in shots and the hosts took six corners compared to three for Rivier. The physical contest 37 fouls called and four yellow cards handed out in the second half.
The Falcons return to action on Wednesday, September 30, with a non-conference road clash versus in-state rival Western Connecticut State at 7:00 p.m.