BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 7, 2017 //
Giancarlo Orsini found Co-captain Eric Miller with just over 10 minutes to play to top conference-rival Eastern Nazarene for Head Coach Peter Mendel’s 100th career win.
Despite the Lions coming into Walter M. Katz Field 0-9 on the season, Mendel’s milestone did not come easy. Both teams finished the first half scoreless with quality opportunities coming few and far between.
Curry earned four corners but the Eastern Nazarene goalkeeper nabbed the ball out of the air on each attempt, not allowing the Colonels to take advantage of their opportunities.
After the first 45, Curry finished with zero shots on net while the Lions’ lone shot came on a free kick in the 43rd minute. Sophomore goalkeeper Paul DeMaio stepped up and protected his net from junior Nabil Chamoun’s shot.
Mendel felt that his team backed off a little bit in the first half but halftime adjustments called for the Colonels to turn up the pressure.
The Purple and White came out firing in the second half, racking up 20 shots in the period with 13 of them landing on net.
Those shots continued to pile up as the clock bore on, racing towards the 90-minute mark. However, Coach Mendel knew that some adjustments had to be made to get one behind freshman Tim Eddings.
“We knew we needed better service,” said Mendel. “[Their] goalie played tremendously and he did a great job of catching everything in the air so we knew we had to drive balls a little more and keep him on his line.”
Senior Dave Stapleton used those adjustments as the second half went on but entering the 79th minute, he finally found some success. Setting the ball up in the offensive zone, classmate Giancarlo Orsini eventually found the foot of another senior, Eric Miller, who ripped one past Eddings with 79:32 showing on the clock.
Curry retained the score advantage and stymied any attempts from the Eastern Nazarene offense to improve to 7-5-1 overall and 2-2-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, putting them right in the thick of things with the CCC schedule ramping up.
“We knew we needed this one and I think the guys didn’t panic,” Mendel said of his team. “They stayed within the game plan and I think we are right where we needed to be.”
Coach Mendel now reflects a 100-99-18 overall record after 11 years at the helm, already establishing records for both wins and years coaching. Three years ago, he surpassed the first Curry Men’s Soccer Coach, Jim Kaufman, who registered a 71-80-6 record over 10 years.
“It’s a testament to every player that’s ever been here,” Mendel noted. “Every player that’s put on a Curry uniform is a part of this and it’s a great honor, it’s something that I don’t take for granted.”
After all the dust settled, the Colonels regrouped and headed out to Williams College for a 3 p.m. start this afternoon. Mendel will look to move Curry to 8-5-1 while the Ephs kickoff with a 4-3-1 record.