ORONO – Freshman striker Mike Dunphy had assisted on the University of Maine’s last three goals. But he turned into a goal scorer on Friday and it was the game’s only goal as the Black Bears held off Drexel University 1-0 in a North Atlantic Conference game at Alumni Field.
Maine is now 3-1-1 overall, 2-1 in the NAC. Drexel fell to 1-5-1, 0-1.
“It’s nice to get a goal, especially since I’ve got family and friends here this weekend,” said Dunphy, a Halifax, Nova Scotia, native.
The goal came at the 35:56 mark of the first half and was set up by a Tim Dean header.
“One of their defenders cleared it, I saw Mike, and I snuck it through,” said Dean, whose header sailed to the top of the penalty area where Dunphy and fellow freshman striker Jake Ouimet were sandwiching a Drexel defender.
“I called Jake off and he took the defender with him,” said Dunphy, who darted for the net.
Drexel goalie Rune Helgeland came diving out at Dunphy, but Dunphy pulled it around him with his left foot and drilled a 10-yarder into the top near side corner.
“In that situation, you’ve got to make a quick reaction,” said Dunphy. “If he had stayed back in his net, I would have tried to pass (shoot) it around him. Tim made a great pass.”
It was a seesaw game that saw each team have periods of time when it dominated play territorially. Drexel outshot Maine 11-8.
Drexel’s Paul Bredickas had a golden opportunity midway through the first half when he was left unmarked to the right of Maine goalie Seb D’Appolonia, but D’Appolonia scrambled out and dove to smother the shot with his hands.
“He hesitated, I stayed at home, and he hit it right at me,” said D’Appolonia.
Right after Dunphy scored, he almost scored again. Pat Laughlin and Ouimet worked a nifty passing play that resulted in a Ouimet cross onto the foot of the oncoming Dunphy. But Dunphy volleyed the ball wide.
In the second half, Drexel pressed for the equalizer and the Bears nearly capitalized on a counterattack when Dunphy fed George Sherry for a rising 15-yarder. But Helgeland caught the shot for one of his two saves.
The Dragons had a quality opportunity with five minutes left when Bredickas passed it to Zoran Markovski, who slid it across to Matt Peterson streaking into the penalty area from the right side. But Peterson’s low 17-yarder was gathered in by D’Appolonia.
“I gave him the near side (by leaning towards the far corner) and then I took it away,” said D’Appolonia, who finished with four saves. “I knew he’d shoot to the near side.”
“We persevered in an ugly match,” said Maine Coach Jim Dyer. “We got a good goal from Mike Dunphy, the guys worked very hard, and our players deserved to win.”
Dyer praised the efforts turned in by Dunphy, midfielder Dean, and fullback Sherry, who replaced the injured Peter Ellef.
“It’s disappointing to lose. We were disorganized at times and that’s what happened on their goal,” said Drexel Coach Keith Cammidge. “But you’ve got to give credit to Maine. They deserved to win. It was close, though.”
Cammidge lauded the performances turned in by sweeper Fabrice Dube, midfielder David Le, and striker Bredickas.