WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross senior captain Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.) scored the game-winning goal in the 87th minute to help lead the Crusaders to a 2-1 triumph over Sacred Heart in non-conference men's soccer action on Wednesday evening at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium. Holy Cross earns its first victory of the season and moves to 1-3-1 overall, while the Pioneers fall to 2-5-0 on the season.
After a scoreless first half, the Crusaders were able to get on the board during the 58th minute. Senior forward Tommy Uttaro (Staten Island, N.Y.) tallied the contest's first goal, as he fired the ball from the center of the box past Sacred Heart goalkeeper Dylan Strachan to give Holy Cross the 1-0 lead. The Pioneers rallied back and were able to tie the score at 1-1 in the 80th minute, as Mahmoud Kafel scored his second goal of the season with an assist coming from Aaron Burrell.
With the score knotted at 1-1 in the 87th minute, Sacred Heart's Konstantine Dekaneas was given a yellow card for a foul committed just outside of his own box. On the ensuing free kick, Sanders launched the ball from 23 yards out that found its way through the wall of defenders and into the back of the net, to clinch the 2-1 win for the Crusaders.
"We struggled a bit in the five minutes before the foul," Holy Cross head coach Marco Koolman said about the game-winning goal, "but the foul came at the right moment. That's what we ask of the guys, to be leaders and step up. He (Sanders) got a chance to finish it off and he did. It was well deserved and I'm happy for him."
Holy Cross sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas) earned his first win of the season (1-2-1), as he was called upon to make six saves. The Crusaders held the 12-10 advantage in shots, including an 8-4 clip in the second half. Sacred Heart held the 7-2 edge in shots on goal.
"Getting the win is a huge piece for us going forward," Koolman said. "We played a lot better at times and we still have to improve things, but overall I think we deserved the win."
Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 21, when it will travel to Smithfield, R.I. to take on Bryant at 1:00 p.m.