MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (CofC) – The College of Charleston men's soccer team fell, 2-0, to Vermont at Patriots Point on Friday evening. The Cougars dictated the majority of the match – especially the second half – but back-to-back counterattack goals by Vermont's Brian Wright were the difference in the contest.
CofC (1-3 overall) outshot Vermont, 18-12, with a lopsided 13-4 shot advantage of the second half.
Both of Wright's goals, his second and third of the season, came on counterattacks and were separated by 1:38 of game clock in the 72nd and 73rd minutes.
"We were real lucky in the first half," said head coach Ralph Lundy. "We played terrible – turned the ball over the entire half. We were so lucky it was 0-0. I felt great in the second half because we were keeping the ball, we were getting into their third… then we made a very poor decision on a free kick. It was set up for a counterattack, all our players were in the [offensive] box and we played the ball we played. We squared it to our player who got tackled and they were off to the races – changed the whole game. They countered great.
At halftime I asked my team to do certain things and they did them. I felt really confident we were going to get a win. We were lucky in the first half, no doubt about it. But, the second half we had control. They very seldom crossed the half. But we didn't get it done. We made a bad decision and that took us out of the game."
The Cougars survived a couple of scares in the opening half, the first coming when Wright was granted a penalty kick but the freshman's touch betrayed him and his attempt sailed over the bar in the 32nd minute.
In the 40th minute, the Catamounts had the Cougars scrambling in the box and Wright dinged a shot off the post. The rebound fell to Charlie Defeo who had a seemingly wide-open look at goal, but CofC defender Tam McGowan (Glasgow, Scotland) was standing on the line and temporarily cleared the ball off the line. The rebound fell back to Wright who had a second look at an open goal mouth but his second attempt caromed off the post as well and the Cougars were able to clear the ball from danger.
The second half was chippy and physical with the Cougars dictating the pace of play and dominating the possession, leading to the nine-shot margin.
The first goal-scoring play was initiated when the Cougars drew a free kick and stacked the box but elected to play the ball short and a turnover sprung the Catamounts on an odd-man rush in the other direction. Defeo led the rush and slipped the ball through the middle to Wright who scored one-on-one with Cougar keeper Alex Young (Greenville, S.C.).
Just over a minute later, the Cougars pushed into the attacking third in an attempt to undo the newly-found goal deficit but again sprung Vermont on a counterattack, this time with Shane Haley finding Wright who scored across the goal mouth.
Young made three saves for the Cougars. Junior Troy Peterson (Federal Way, Wash.) paced the offense with six shot attempts.
Jake Currie (Sheffield, England) made his first appearance as a Cougar after being cleared to play by the NCAA earlier in the week. He logged 67 minutes of play and took four shot attempts, his first coming moments after entering and whistling just wide of the post, but declaring his presence.
The Cougars will look to bounce back but have their hands full with a trip across the country to take on Stanford and California next weekend. The Cougars take on the Cardinal on Friday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. (EST) and Cal on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. (EST).
"There is a great disappointment on the team and we have to rebound from that," said Lundy. "The players were really disappointed at the half because they played so bad. I appreciate the fact that they came out in the second half and played much, much better soccer. We have to rebound though; we don't have any choice. The schedule is killer. We can't sit and mope. We have to step up."