Digman's OT Goal Lifts Leopards Past Nichols
BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore defender Mike Digman (Burlington, Mass.) picked the right time to net his first collegiate goal as his marker 1:11 into overtime lifted the Wentworth men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Nichols in a The Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinal played at Sweeney Field.
Both teams would have scoring opportunities in the first half, but the majority of the play over the course of the opening 45 minutes was dictated by the strong winds. Bison junior midfielder Mark Capitanio (Mansfield, Mass.) had a quality scoring chance in the 25th minute, only to be turned away by Wentworth junior keeper Brian Pearsall (Sanford, Maine), while Leopard junior midfielder Nick Brown (Somerset, Mass.) saw his scoring chance in the 38th minute stopped by Nichols sophomore Brendan Hamilton (North Attleboro, Mass.). Nichols held a 6-5 shot advantage at the break.
Leopard sophomore Dan Santacroce (Northford, Conn.) blasted a shot from just inside the top of the box in the 64th minute, but Hamilton came up with a nice save to keep the hosts off the board. Nichols applied pressure and put a pair of shots on goal in a span of just over a minute but each attempt was turned away by Pearsall. The Bison almost broke the stalemate late in regulation when sophomore forward David Johnson (Cantebury, Conn.) headed a cross from close range but, once again, Pearsall came up with the save. Nichols would hold a 11-9 shot advantage in the second half and had five corner kicks to Wentworth's two.
Wentworth opened the extra session with a shot from sophomore midfielder Josh Deschene (Webster, Mass.) from the top of the box that Hamilton knocked away, resulting in a Leopard corner kick. Junior forward David Lagarce (Lenox, Mass.) took the kick from the right hash where classmate John Golden (Whitman, Mass.) controlled it. He found Digman along the left side who would bury a shot inside the left post at 91:11 to give the Leopards the win.
Pearsall, who hasn't given up a goal in the last 512:03, made six saves, including four in the second half. Hamilton turned aside six saves as well. The Bison had a 17-16 shot advantage and a 9-7 advantage on corner kicks.
The win, Wentworth's third in a row – all by shutout – improves the Leopards' record to 11-8, which includes a perfect 8-0 home record. The Leopards will be making their third trip to the conference semifinals in the last five seasons when they travel to second-seeded Roger Williams on Tuesday at 1:00. The Hawks advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 win over seventh-seeded Curry. In the regular-season meeting Wentworth won, 2-1, in double overtime. Nichols saw its four-game win streak come to an end as the Bison finish the season with a 12-7 record.