Worcester, MA --- WPI got a pair of goals from senior Chris Ciampa (Danvers, Mass.) and the visiting Engineers won their third straight match and fourth in the last five, collecting a 2-1 win over crosstown rival Clark University in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's soccer opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon.
The win for WPI (4-1-1) is its third straight in the series and marks the tenth time in the last 11 years in which this game has been decided by one goal. Earlier this season, the Cougars and Engineers shared the Worcester City Championship crown with a win over Becker and a draw with Worcester State.
Ciampa put the Crimson and Grey ahead in the eighth minute, when, after a teammate was taken down inside the box, he converted a penalty kick at 7:44.
WPI had a chance to extend the lead in the 18th minute when sophomore Chris Murray (Canton, MA) fired a shot on Clark (2-4-1) sophomore keeper Robert Bischof (Tarrytown, NY) but he was able to corral the ball and keep the score at 1-0.
The game stayed that way until the opening minutes of the second half when senior Josh Demers (Warwick, RI) found junior Oscar Zapata (Lima, Peru) a few yards outside the box. Zapata turned with a defender on him and unleashed a rocket that whizzed past the outstretched arms of Engineer senior backstop Jeff Wong (Millington, NJ) at 49:06.
A 1-1 score was short lived however, as WPI took the lead for good in the 58th minute on a spectacular play. Sophomore Brien Hard (New Hartford, CT) launched a corner kick that Ciampa was able the head home past Bischof for his league-leading eighth goal of the year.
The Engineers almost tacked on another goal less than two minutes later when rookie Matt Farrell (Groveland, MA) headed a ball that sailed just over the crossbar at 57:38.
Clark had two more chances down the stretch to even the game but couldn't convert. The first came when Zapata had a shot at the top of the box but his attempt breezed over the crossbar.
Their other opportunity came in the 88th minute when senior Kenneth Vera (Franklin Square, NY) got behind the Engineer defense but his shot from in close was denied by Wong.
The Cougars controlled the stat sheet, holding sizable edges in shots (16-7) and corner kicks (9-1), but Wong only needed to make two saves to earn his fourth win of the season.
Both teams will return to action on Wednesday with WPI heading to Salve Regina for a 4:30 match and the Cougars playing host to Lasell.
Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information