By Kathryn Arena / Sports Information Intern
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team opened its 2019 season with a 6-0 shutout win over the visiting Cougars of Medgar Evers College Saturday evening at Rick McCarthy Field at the Mansfield Athletic Complex.
The win marked the eighth season that the Warriors have won their opening match under head coach Greg DeVito. In just 13th seasons as head coach, DeVito has now become the winningest coach in program history, passing Tom Nevers (1961-1978), with 154 all-time wins. DeVito is 154-63-24 at Eastern for a winning percentage of 69 percent, and is averaging just under 13 wins per season. He has won seven Little East Conference regular-season and five LEC post-season championships thus far and is ranked No. 1 in the 2019 LEC pre-season p
"It was great to be in front of our home crowd today," DeVito stated afterward during a post-game interview with E-TV's Dom Conte. "We are looking forward to doing big things in the coming weeks."
Eastern beat Medgar Evers by an identical score last year in Brooklyn, NY but was played to a stalemate until just 13 minutes remained in the first half this time. At that point, the Warriors scored twice in 22 seconds to take a 2-0 halftime lead, then added two more goals in less than three minutes in the opening minutes of the second half to pull away.
With a half-dozen players sitting this game out due to injury, many newcomers excelled given the opportunity. Four of the goals and three of the assists came from players who did not start the match.
Freshman midfielder Andres Mayuri (West Hartford) had two goals and an assist, Springfield College junior transfer Emmanuel Agyemang (East Hartford) had one on a penalty kick and his brother, sophomore forward Patrick Agyemang (East Hartford) assisted on the first two goals and scored the first goal of the second half to make it 3-0.
Making his first career start, junior keeper Kyle Boutot (Tolland) combined on the shutout with junior Jack VanRooyen (Wayland, MA). Neither was tested as Eastern outshot Medgar Evers (0-1-0), 41-2. Boutot remained unbeaten (5-0) in his career.
Photo by Sara Pisanelli
Eastern's pressure finally paid dividends in the 33rd minute. Freshman forward Ryan Sirois (Tolland) won possession in the box by poking the ball through two Cougar defenders to Patrick Agyemang on the left side. Agyemang possessed briefly while heading to goal and found sophomore forward Zack Kindall (Ellington) unmarked at the right post and sent him a left-footed cross. Kindall one-timed the ball to the left of keeper Carl-Henry Obeissant inside the right post for the first goal of the season.
With the intensity at a high, quick combination passing between Patrick Agyemang and Mayuri allowed the Warriors go up 2-0 when they scored virtually off the ensuing kickoff. Patrick Agyemang won the ball on the left wing and cut across the field eight yards out from the top of the box. At that point, he found Mayuri inside the box with a ball that Mayuri trapped with his left with his back to the goal. With three defenders converged on him, he turned to his left, split the defense with two touches and slid the ball inside the right post. Mayuri celebrated his first goal in a Warrior uniform as the team closed the first half with an impressive 16 shots on goal.
Four goals in the second half added to Eastern first win of the season. Patrick Agyemang, the 2018 Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and top goal scorer, capitalized quickly in the second half by knocking the ball into the net just 66 seconds into play. Emmanuel Agyemang capped his first career win in a Warrior uniform and added Eastern's fourth goal off of a penalty kick awarded when Cougar keeper Obeissant was sent off with a red card due to a violent play. Mayuri and junior forward Jake Szymko (Upton, MA) contributed the fifth and sixth goals of the match in the last ten minutes of play as the visitors were playing a man down. In 41 minutes off the bench, junior midfielder Lucas Chaude (Montville) applied pressure throughout but was denied several times. He had one assists.
Eastern dominated play with a 15-2 advantage in corner kicks, with Obeissant and his replacement, James Hyacinthe combining for 16 saves – many of them outstanding – to keep the Warriors from reaching double figures in goals.
Eastern visits WPI Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a non-conference match.