ORONO – The University of Maine men’s soccer team didn’t want to come out of its season-opening tournament with two losses, and that’s the way things were going early as UMaine was down a goal in the first half of Sunday’s Black Bear Invitational game against Cal Poly at Alumni Field.
The Black Bears did turn things around in the second half and rally to tie it up. But neither team scored again in two, 10-minute sudden-death overtimes – despite the Bears having to play a man down late because of a red card ejection – and played to a 1-1 tie.
Maine was coming off a season-opening 2-0 tournament loss to Army Friday.
“Our guys battled hard and we got a point out of it,” Maine coach Travers Evans said of the weekend tourney. “We didn’t want to go 0-2.”
Sunday’s first game went to overtime, too, as Army edged Quinnipiac 1-0.
Cal Poly outshot the Black Bears 5-3 in overtime (24-10 overall) and had a Matt McNally shot hit the crossbar with about six minutes left in the second OT. It was the third time in the game Cal Poly found iron – Justin Woodward hit the left post in overtime and Mark Jones hit the left post early in regulation.
“We just weren’t finding the net,” said Jones, who took five shots. “Sometimes you can’t really do much about it and just hope the ball takes a bounce the other way.”
That made the Mustangs more dangerous as Maine’s Luke Rivard was tagged with his second yellow card of the afternoon and was ejected with 1:31 left in the first overtime. But playing with a one-man disadvantage didn’t change Maine’s game plan.
“We wanted to play for the win, not lead off the season with two losses, not sit back and take a barrage of shots,” said goalie Chad Mongeon, who made eight saves. “We stayed aggressive.”
Justin Stockford and Jimmy Velas of Maine each had a shot in the first overtime. Cal Poly goalie Jeremy Coupe saved both attempts.
Cal Poly’s Ronnie Silva scored the first goal of the game almost 20 minutes into the first half when Mongeon tipped a shot by Francisco Marmolejo. Mongeon’s tip rolled to Silva, who kicked it in.
The Mustangs outshot the Bears 10-1 in the first half but Maine was much more offensive-minded the second half, getting off six shots to Cal Poly’s nine.
“We wanted to push up with numbers so we could attack around more on the goal and put more pressure on the ball,” Mongeon said. “We were able to get a few chances and put one away.”
Maine’s Adam Chenault tied the game with 27:03 left in regulation on a hard blast from about 30 yards out.
“That’s huge for us,” Evans said. “We battled hard all day to get that goal.”
There were five yellow cards handed out in the physical game.