NASHUA, N.H. - Freshman forward Bienfait Badibanga (Burlington, Vt.) of the Norwich University men's soccer team tallied his second career hat trick to lead the Cadets to a 4-0 win over Rivier University on Wednesday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action.
Badibanga's hat trick ignited the Norwich offense as the Cadets (6-0-3, 3-0-1 GNAC) extended their unbeaten streak to open the season to nine straight games. This year's team is off to the best start since the 2008 season when NU started 10-0-1 and went on to win the program's last GNAC Championship.
Norwich scored back-to-back goals within a minute apart as senior Matt Hilton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) netted his second of the season in the 14th minute followed by Beinfait Badibanga, who knocked home his fifth of the year in the 15th minute to cap the first half scoring.
The Cadets increased the lead to 3-0 in the 51st minute when Badibanga notched his second goal of the game off a pass from sophomore Andre Rodriguez (Wallingford, Conn.). Badibanga then completed the trifecta in the 63rd minute with an unassisted tally to account for all of the Cadet offense.
Rivier junior goalkeeper Collin Deyarmin made five saves on the afternoon before being relieved by freshman Cody Richards who stopped the only shot he faced. Norwich senior keepers Brendan Germano (Monroe Township, N.J.) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Millbury, Mass.) did not see a shot on net as the Cadets outshot Rivier, 17-0 (10-0 SOG). Germano improved to 6-0-3 on the season.
Norwich will be back on the pitch this Friday afternoon as they host the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) at 3 p.m. to kickoff NU Parent and Family Weekend 2018. The Cadets currently sit in second place in the GNAC standings, trailing only two-time defending champion Saint Joseph's (Maine), who is a perfect 6-0-0 with 18 points. Norwich is tied with Johnson & Wales and Emmanuel with 10 points each, but the Cadets have played one less game then both of them.