RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College men's soccer team fell to 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifier Franklin Pierce University, 4-1, on Tuesday evening at Sodexo Field. The Purple Knights, who had won two of their last three games, are 3-7-1 overall and 1-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Ravens snapped a four-game winless drought en route to improving to 6-2-2 and 4-2-2.
Senior back Adrián Díaz (Santiago de Compostela, Spain/Vermont Academy) netted his career-high third goal - all within the last four games - while first-year Leland Gazo (Colchester, Vt./Rice Memorial/Bradley) made five saves in the opening 72:37. Sophomore Gabriel Pineda (Miami, Fla./Immaculata-La Salle) appeared for the remainder of the contest, and classmate Andres Rivas (Caracas, Venezuela/Palmer Trinity School) had an assist.
First-year Oran Ben Zion scored twice for Franklin Pierce, senior Hamish Cadigan collected a goal and an assist, and sophomore Jacob Maddox also tallied. Classmate Noam Kolakofsky handed out three assists, and sophomore Jadel Poon-Lewis made two saves.
Gazo notched four of his saves in the first half alone to keep his team within 1-0 at halftime, including denying Kolakofsky in the fifth minute. The Purple Knights earned a corner kick in the 10th minute, but sophomore back Brady Channell (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh) sent a bid wide of the frame. The Ravens went ahead at the 14-minute mark, as Cadigan buried a 25-yard shot from the left side off a Kolakofsky feed.
Gazo maintained the one-goal deficit with 20th- and 34th-minute saves that led to corner kicks but no shots on goal, and Rivas saw his tying attempt drift wide in the 36th minute. The Saint Michael's netminder again came up big during the final stages of the stanza, stopping Kolakofsky in the 42nd minute. That kicked off a sequence that included a corner kick and two shots that didn't get through to the net, with a header getting blocked and a follow-up attempt sailing wide. Díaz was stopped by Poon-Lewis early in the 45th minute.
The Purple Knights had an opportunity to tie in the 53rd minute, as Rivas' shot was tipped away by Poon-Lewis, leading to a Díaz corner kick that led to no shots by the visitors. Franklin Pierce responded with the next eight shots and three corner kicks, which included a quick three-goal spurt in a matter of 5:11. Gazo stopped Kolakofsky once more in the 64th minute, but Zion headed home Cadigan's corner kick to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute. Maddox tapped in Kolakofsky's through ball in the 73rd minute, and Zion put away a Kolakofsky centering pass at 73:21.
In the 83rd minute, Díaz cracked the scoring column, streaking down the left side to go one-on-one with the keeper before burying a shot into the bottom right. Rivas assisted.
Saint Michael's visits Stonehill College on Saturday at 2 p.m. before three of its final four regular-season contests take place at home.