Worcester, MA --- Lukas Benedetto (Ronkonkoma, NY) scored a first half goal and Ritchie Burns (Long Beach, CA) made three stops in the second half as nationally-ranked Coast Guard held off host WPI for a key 1-0 victory in a NEWMAC men's soccer contest on Saturday morning at Alumni Stadium.
Coast Guard, ranked 23rd in the most recent NSCAA Division III and D3Soccer.com Top 25, improves to 13-1 overall and 4-1 in league action while WPI, ranked sixth in the NSCAA New England poll, dips to 11-3 on the season and 3-2 in NEWMAC play.
Ryan Dandian (Trophy Club, TX) sent the ball to Caelan Harshaw (Cary, NC) who quickly dished to Benedetto for the header goal just 13:34 into the contest. Later in the half, Kurt Naugler (Westford, MA) tested Burns but it was scooped up by the keeper.
WPI fired off three of the five shots-on-goal after the break. The best Engineer chance came when Eric Crevoiserat (Glastonbury, CT) took a close range shot off a quick cross; however, an outstretched Burns, flanked by another Bear defender, made the stop to preserve the lead in the 49th minute. Sam Russell (Glastonbury, CT) had another quality chance when he nearly beat the keeper who came out to grab the ball in the 66th minute.
Burns collected four saves for the Bears while Connor Hoeckele (Granby, CT) stopped pair of shots for WPI. For the game, each side took seven shots as the Engineers held a slim 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
WPI steps out of non-conference for the final time in 2014 on Wednesday, traveling to Fitchburg State for a 4pm match. Coast Guard hosts Eastern Connecticut Tuesday at 6pm in a non-conference matchup.