BANGOR – After a loss to Castleton State in penalty kicks cost the Husson University Eagles a shot in the NCAA Division III Tournament, they made the most of their first-ever appearance in the ECAC Division III New England men’s soccer tourney Wednesday.
Kittery freshman Tyler Metevier scored a pair of goals and former Hampden Academy star Nattapong Kongsuriya picked up a pair of assists as fourth seed Husson dominated the fifth-seeded Huskies from the University of Southern Maine 3-0 at Boucher Field.
The 11-6-1 Eagles, who had 23 shots at goal to USM’s nine, will take on top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State, 14-3-3, in Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal in Willimantic, Conn.
“We didn’t make the NCAA Tournament but this is a pretty good consolation prize,” said Husson senior back Josh Bartlett, who scored the second goal. “We really wanted to win. We played hard. To win our first ever [non-conference] post-season game since we’ve been in the NCAA [the last six years] is pretty exciting.”
“They wanted it more than we did. They worked a lot harder. They outhustled us,” said USM junior goalkeeper David Kreps, who made six saves, including two off early break-ins by Jeff Truchon and Metevier, to keep his team within striking distance.
Metevier opened the scoring with 18:39 left in the first half.
His team-high 10th goal of the season came off the rebound of a Justin Gauvin shot during a scramble at the top of the 6-yard box.
“Gauvin worked hard. He put his shot off the post and I was just there to finish it off,” said Metevier.
Bartlett made it 2-0 with his third of the year just 1:40 later.
Kongsuriya cleverly maneuver past a defender and crossed the ball from the right flank.
Bartlett cut left to right across the top of the 18 and volleyed the ball inside the post to the left of Kreps.
“It was a beautiful ball [from Kongsuriya] and I was in the right place at the right time,” said Bartlett. “I was just trying to put it on the frame. It was a good shot. I wish I could do more of that.”
“I was trying to hit a diagonal cross across the box and Bartlett showed up out of nowhere,” said Kongsuriya.
“The ball came out of nowhere,” said Kreps. “It was a great shot to the bottom corner.”
USM had its best chance in the opening minutes of the second half when Derek Peters’ cross found Greg Cox all alone just inside the 18.
But Husson goalie Miguel Dominguez charged off his line and absorbed the shot before it deflected onto the crossbar and dropped into his hands.
“The ball stuck under my feet and when I put my head down to take my first touch, the ‘keeper got a good read on me and came out to close down my angle pretty well,” said Cox.
Dominguez finished with five saves.
Metevier sewed it up when Kongsuriya back-heeled the ball to him and he curled a perfectly placed 24-yard shot into the upper far corner.
“We played really well. We pressured them and capitalized on their mistakes,” said Metevier.
USM, which wound up 12-9-1 after winning its first ever Little East Conference regular season title, was without three starters, including Little East Defensive Player of the Year Colin Reilly (red card in last game).