Springfield, MA --- Brendan Nemes (Kingston, MA) netted a goal midway through the second half as second-seeded WPI defeated third-seeded Coast Guard 1-0 Saturday afternoon in a NEWMAC Men's Soccer Tournament match played Springfield's Brock-Affleck Field.
With the win, the Engineers advance to the championship match for the first time since 2014 where they will be face top seed and host Springfield at 1pm on Sunday. WPI moves its record to 13-5-1 on the year while Coast Guard concluded its standout season with a 10-5-3 mark.
Nemes took a long ball from teammate Luke Reiniger (Rowley, MA) and shot it into the back of the net at 67:44 for his team-best seventh goal of the season and 20th of his career.
After a scoreless first half that saw Coast Guard enjoy a slim 6-5 edge in shots, WPI attempted the first seven shots of the second stanza and had eight of the 10 attempts of the session before Nemes cashed in with what proved to be the game-winner. The Bears got off two shots following the goal with Connor Hoeckele (Granby, CT) stopping Garrett Magill's (Warrenton, VA) bid with eight minutes remaining and Noa Pagatpatan (Hilton Head Island, NC) sailing his shot high in the waning seconds.
Earlier, the first opportunity of the game went to WPI as sophomore Mark Calnan (Winchester, MA) served a corner to the back post in the 13th minute. Graduate student Nate Peterson (Mashpee, MA) ran onto the cross and headed it towards goal. Senior goalkeeper Jake Sorenson (Oakdale, CT) knocked the shot down and smothered the rebound ending the attack.
Sorenson stepped up again in the as Calnan got on the end of the set piece by senior Derrick Naugler (Westford, MA) on the right side of the Coast Guard penalty box in the 23rd minute. Sorenson reacted quickly for the kick save and the Bears defense cleared it out of danger.
Senior Austin Read (Takoma Park, MD) gave Coast Guard their best chance of the opening half in the 25th minute as he one timed a rebound from 30 yards out that went just wide of the right post and out of play keeping the game scoreless.
Hoeckele recorded one save en route to his fifth shutout of the season and 19th clean sheet of his career. The Engineer backline of Peterson, Ben Rickson (West Warren, RI), Reese Petersen (Springfield, NJ) and Naugler was part of a Crimson and Gray effort that allowed just one shot on net over the 90 minutes. Sorenson was strong in net for the Bears, making eight stops on the day. WPI finished with a 16-10 advantage in shots and attempt's five of contest's seven corner kicks.
Sunday's championship meeting between the co-regular season titlists will be a rematch of a well-played 0-0 double overtime draw in Worcester just over two weeks ago on October 21st.
Portion of release courtesy Coast Guard Sports Information and photo courtesy Springfield Sports Information