MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Freshman netminder A.J. Marcucci (West Chester, Pa.) made 11 saves and classmate Justin Miranda (Winchester, Mass.) scored his first career goal to help lead the Connecticut College men's soccer team to a 2-1 triumph over Middlebury in the NESCAC opener for both schools on Saturday afternoon at South Street Field.
Connecticut College (2-0, NESCAC 1-0) scored both of its goals less than five minutes apart and never trailed in the match. The Camels got on the board with an own goal when a Panther defender headed the ball into an unguarded net after goalkeeper Jeremy Yeager had come out to challenge the ball. Shortly afterwards, Miranda provided what would prove to be the decisive marker by firing a shot inside the left post.
Middlebury (1-1, NESCAC 0-1) had several chances to slice the deficit during the second half and nearly scored its first goal in the 55th minute. Marcucci, however, stopped a dangerous shot by Ben Potter which was headed to the far post and then stuffed a Drew Goulart header shortly afterwards.
After several missed opportunities, the Panthers finally got one past Marcucci when Goulart fired a shot from just inside of the 18-yard box that tipped off a Camel defender in the 57th minute. Both teams had additional opportunities to score down the stretch, but neither side was willing to concede anything the rest of the way. Junior Chris Lockwood (Glastonbury, Conn.) attempted to pot a rebound that sailed wide right in the 84th minute, and Marcucci denied another Panther shot to allow the Camels to escape with the win.
Marcucci totaled 11 saves by making six stops in the first half and five in the second for Connecticut College, which defeated Middlebury for the first time since earning a 1-0 victory over the Panthers in a semifinal matchup at the 1992 ECAC New England Division III Tournament. Middlebury's Yeager turned away six shots in the setback.
Connecticut College returns to action when it visits Salem State on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 p.m.