Worcester, Mass. – Freshman Greg French (North Andover, Mass.) scored the first two collegiate goals of his career, sparking a three-goal second half as host Clark University pulled away for a 3-0 win over Eastern Nazarene in non-league men's soccer action on Saturday morning at the Granger Soccer Field.
The win for the Cougars not only snaps their two-game losing streak but ends a scoring drought that lasted parts of four contests.
Each team had excellent scoring chances throughout but neither could take advantage until French's first score.
Clark's best opportunity came when Oscar Zapata (Lima, Peru) found himself alone going in on Lions' backstop Jake Johnson (Mount Bethel, Pa.), who slid to try and prevent the shot but Zapata was able to chip it over him. Unfortunately, the shot sailed just high over the crossbar in the 24th minute.
Eastern Nazarene looked as if they were going to take the lead in the 37th minute when off a corner kick Josh Henry (Lowell, Mass.) saw his header from inside the box sail just wide.
Another corner kick moments later brought a scrum in the front of the goal but Jermaine Hibbert (Bridgeport, Conn.) had his shot denied by Connor Maguire (Dunstable, Mass.) who was sprawled out near the goal line. Scott Hansen (Middletown Springs, Vt.) collected the rebound but his shot was cleared off the line by the Cougar defense.
Clark finally broke through in the 51st minute when after a foul, French wrapped his ball around a line of Lion defenders and tucked it into the lower left corner of the goal at 50:56.
A little less than 15 minutes later, the Cougars were at it again as Nate Biedak (Taunton, Mass.) intercepted a pass near the center circle and then split converging defenders, made one deke to the left and came back right, slipping the ball past Johnson for a 2-0 Clark lead at 64:20.
The Scarlet and White put the game away when French converted a penalty kick after a collision between Zack Blais (Tiverton, R.I.) and Johnson at 67:02.
Clark held a 22-13 edge in overall shots, including a 9-5 edge in the decisive second half.
Maguire played the first 80 minutes of the contest, registering seven saves before giving way to Alistair Richardson (Tolland, Conn.).
Johnson, meanwhile, kept the Lions in the game with several key stops in the first half, totaled six saves in 90 minutes.
The Cougars will return to action on Wednesday when they play host to Colby-Sawyer at 6:00 p.m., while the Lions host Wheelock on Thursday.