HADLEY, Mass. -- Sophomores Owen Keleher and Ciaran Bardong both scored in the second half to lift the Bates College men's soccer team a 2-0 victory over the University of New England Tuesday on Russell Street Field, keeping the Bobcats undefeated at 3-0. It was Bates' first home game on its new natural grass pitch installed over the summer.
"Guys were excited to open up new Russell Street Field, and in the end we bagged a deserved two goals," said Bates head coach Tyler Sheikh. "UNE threw a system at us that let the game be open, and in the end our strength in numbers won us the day."
UNE (1-2-1) and Bates played to a scoreless draw for over 70 minutes, with the Bobcats outshooting the Nor'easters 19-11 overall but also requiring a pair of quick-handed saves from junior goalkeeper David Goodstein (Bethesda, Md.) to keep the visitors off the scoreboard -- most notably a close-range save on the Caleb DeMello in the 14th minute. Goodstein finished with four saves in his second career shutout.
In the 68th minute, Bates first-year Myles Guerrier (Canton, Mass.) headed down a crossing pass that threatened to give Bates the lead, but UNE defender Tristan Wirth was in perfect position on the goal line to volley the ball out and away.
In the 72nd minute, Bates finally struck. Keleher (Corrales, N.M.) passed ahead to first-year forward Jacob Iwowo (London, England) on the right side of the box, and pursued him into the same area. Iwowo's dribble was knocked away by UNE defender Danny O'Brien but out to Keleher, who volleyed the ball off the bounce, over the reach of Will Shearon and into the far corner of the net from 15 yards away. It is the second goal of the season for the midfielder who transferred from Knox College this year.
With 3:24 left in the game, Keleher passed to Bardong (Manhasset, N.Y.) on the right side of the top of the penalty area. Bardong faked O'Brien and ripped a low left-footed shot that Shearon touched but could not corral, as the ball skipped past the keeper for Bates' second goal.
Shearon, who broke up several key chances for the Bobcats with aggressive plays outside the net, finished with five saves.
The Nor'easters next play at Southern Maine Saturday at 1pm. Bates will return to NESCAC play Saturday at 2pm at Connecticut College. "We'll bring a similar gritty mindset when we play on the road at Conn," said Sheikh.