Cervantes' Equalizer Leads Saint Michael's to 1-1 Tie at Saint Anselm in Community Cup

Cervantes' Equalizer Leads Saint Michael's to 1-1 Tie at Saint Anselm in Community Cup

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Sophomore Cris Cervantes (Barranquilla, Colombia/Doral Academy Charter School) struck for the 66th-minute equalizer, and the Saint Michael's College men's soccer team tied Saint Anselm College, 1-1, on Saturday during the inaugural Community Cup at Grappone Stadium. After the non-conference affair between the Northeast-10 Conference squads, Saint Michael's has a record of 1-0-1 while the Hawks are 0-1-1.

Cervantes, who did not play last season, posted his second career goal, and first since Sept. 4, 2015. Senior Matt Vlasich (East Kingston, N.H./Exeter/Saint Anselm) pitched in the assist. Sophomores Leland Gazo (Colchester, Vt./Rice Memorial/Bradley) and Gabriel Pineda (Miami, Fla./Immaculata-La Salle) shared the net, with Gazo picking up the lone save, during the opening half. He made his college debut after not appearing during his lone season last fall at Division I Bradley University. Pineda earned the tie with 65 minutes of shutout relief.

Saint Michael's went to two overtimes for the second time in as many contests this season, while 16 of its past 18 meetings with Saint Anselm have now been decided by one goal or less. The Purple Knights, who held a 13-6 shot advantage, including 3-0 during the overtime sessions, are 6-3-4 in the series since 2006.

Sophomore Nick Heckt scored for Saint Anselm, while senior Helio Meirelles Neto and junior Jacob Rostkowski both saw time in net. Meirelles Neto made two saves in a scoreless first half before Rostkowski had one stop in relief. Through the inaugural Community Cup contest, both teams donated $500 to a local charity, with this year's being Inti Academy, which serves underprivileged youths in Manchester through the sport of soccer.

Gazo registered his first collegiate save at the nine-minute mark before the Hawks cracked the scoring column on the game's next shot, as Heckt finished from the middle of the box to the lower corner at 22:11 off of junior Emmet O'Callaghan's helper. Sophomore Andres Rivas (Caracas, Venezuela/Trinity Palmer School) nearly found the tying goal a little more than three minutes later but rung the crossbar, and Meirelles Neto made two stops within the ensuing seven minutes to keep his team in front 1-0 heading into halftime.

Cervantes and junior Cole McIntire (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) got behind the defense for a 2-on-1 a minute in the second half, but McIntire slipped a shot wide of the right post, and Rivas' header was deflected just over the frame in the 57th minute. Cervantes netted the tying marker at 65:46, touching home Vlasich's right-side cross at the near post. Saint Anselm had a goal waved off due to offsides in the 74th minute, and a corner kick set led to junior Jacob Lovely pushing a go-ahead shot wide in the 85th minute. Senior Adrián Díaz's (Santiago de Compostela, Spain/Vermont Academy) corner kick with less than 20 seconds left in regulation didn't lead to any shots.

Vlasich and sophomore Jake Bannon (Clifton, Va./Paul VI Catholic) sent shots wide in the 93rd and 94th minutes, respectively, while Rivas' bid over the frame during the 109th minute was the lone shot for either team in the second overtime.

The Purple Knights host No. 25 Merrimack College on Tuesday for a 3:30 p.m. kick-off to start NE10 play. The Warriors, who qualified for four of the last five NCAA Tournaments, are receiving their national ranking from the United Soccer Coaches while standing fourth in that organization's East Region poll.

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