WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross junior midfielder Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.) scored the game-clinching goal in the 56th minute to help propel the Crusaders to a 2-1 victory over Navy in Patriot League men's soccer action on Saturday evening at Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium on Senior Night. With the win, Holy Cross improves its record to 5-8-2 overall and 2-2-2 in conference games. Navy slips to 6-6-3 on the season and 1-3-2 in the league.
With the game knotted at one goal each, Sanders tried to play a ball in the box, but was fouled by Navy goalkeeper Gavin Snyder and awarded a penalty kick. Sanders launched the ensuing shot at the net and was stuffed by Snyder. The rebound found Sanders' foot where he was able to drive the ball home and put Holy Cross on top 2-1. The goal was Sanders' third of the season, which is second best on the team.
The Crusaders tallied the first goal of the contest in the 34th minute when junior forward Kevin O'Connell (Basking Ridge, N.J.) ripped a shot from 12 yards out after receiving a pass by classmate Max Pettinelli (Scituate, Mass.). The goal was O'Connell's first of the year while the assist was Pettinelli's first point of his career.
After the intermission, Navy would tie the game just 49 seconds into the second half as Geoff Fries gathered the rebound from a shot by Thomas Shiiba and put it past Crusaders keeper Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas), setting up Sanders' heroics just over 10 minutes later.
Wright was called upon to make one save as he improves his record to 4-3-2 overall. Snyder made four saves in the defeat and is now 6-5-3 on the season.
Both teams played a physical game, in which they combined for 29 fouls and three yellow cards.
The Crusaders held advantages in shots (11-7), shots on goal (6-2), and corner kicks (6-4).
Holy Cross will return to action at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30, as it will take on non-conference opponent Harvard at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium.
Senior captain Pat McCann (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Evan Polanik (Holliston, Mass.), Shane Regan (Quincy, Mass.) and Steven Stefanak (Massapequa, N.Y.) were honored before the game. Also at halftime the Luke Dunivant Award was presented. The award was established in memory of former Holy Cross men's soccer player Luke Dunivant, class of 1997, who passed away in 2008 after a courageous battle with leukemia. The award is presented annually to a member of the men's soccer team who, like Luke, has inspired others by displaying outstanding courage, commitment to the team and sportsmanship during his career. The award went to McCann and was presented by 2010 recipient Tom Van Grinsven, and Luke's teammates Timothy Davison, Daniel Wersanski and Piet Gauchat.
Polanik has played in 23 career games. He has been named the Patriot League Goalie of the Week twice. He has a 1.88 career goals against average and has made 112 saves.
Regan has played in 40 career games. He has scored two career goals as they have both been game-winners. Regan has been strong in the classroom as he is a two-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
Stefanak has played 53 career games. He has netted two career goals. He has appeared in the second most career games of any current member of the team.
McCann has been a mainstay on the field as he has played in 62 career games with 61 starts which are the most games played by any current member of the team. He has two goals and five assists for nine points. Pat has demonstrated his strong leadership skills as he is a two-year team captain and was a member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy. He was also named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.