NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's soccer team was humbled by the two-time defending Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) champion Saint Joseph's (Maine) in a 3-0 loss on Wednesday evening on Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium.
Both teams entered the day unbeaten with the No. 6-nationally ranked Monks sporting a perfect 12-0-0 record, while Norwich was off to its second-best start in school history with a 9-0-3 mark.
Saint Joseph's (Maine) needed only 13 minutes to take a 1-0 lead as Noah Robinson scored on the back post for a tap-in goal off a crossing pass from the right wing by Brett Mattos. The goal was Robinson's sixth of the season as the reigning GNAC Player of the Week.
Mattos and Robinson hooked up again exactly six minutes later with Mattos scoring his ninth goal of the season off a crossing pass from Robinson. Mattos controlled a pass from the left wing by Robinson about 10 yards out. Turned to his right and fired a shot into the left corner of the net to make it 2-0 Saint Joseph's (Maine) less than 20 minutes into the game.
Saint Joseph's (Maine) capped the scoring just 2:30 into the second half when Cody Elliott fired a shot from the top of the 18 that squirted between NU senior goalkeeper Brendan Germano's legs and through his arms to make it 3-0 Monks. Naoh Elmore assisted on the goal with a pass from the right wing.
Norwich's best chance of the game came in the 66th minute with Matt Bento (Brookfield, Conn.) curling a shot toward the right post from 25 yards out that 6-foot-8 SJC goalkeeper Blake Mullen needed every inch of his frame and long arms to get to the ball and make the save.
Mullen finished with three saves in the game to lower his nation-leading goals against average to 0.09. Germano made five saves in the loss for the Cadets to fall to 9-1-3 on the year.
Saint Joseph's (Maine) outshot Norwich 12-5 in the game and had three corner kicks to the Cadets' two.
Norwich (9-1-3, 6-1-1 GNAC) remains in second place in the GNAC standings despite the loss. Saint Joseph's Maine all but clinched the GNAC regular season title and the No. 1 seed for the playoffs with the victory.
The Cadets will now have to rebound and face Emmanuel on the road on Saturday with a 12 p.m. start in Boston in another GNAC contest. NU leads third-place Johnson & Wales by three points with three games to play for both teams.