Worcester, Mass. – Not even the 1983 edition of Clark men's soccer that finished the season 14-1-2 or the 1984 team that won 17 games, started their seasons off as hot as this year's squad. The 2016 version registered its fifth straight win with a 3-1 victory over Colby-Sawyer in non-league men's soccer action on Wednesday evening.
The win for the Cougars (5-0-0) spoils the return to Worcester for Colby-Sawyer head coach Charles Metz who spent the last two plus seasons as an assistant on Clark head coach Matt O'Toole's staff before taking the reins of the Charger program last summer.
Score: Clark University 3, Colby-Sawyer 1
Records: Clark 5-0-0, Colby-Sawyer 2-2-0
Location: Granger Field, Worcester, Mass.
The Cougars entered tonight's match ranked seventh in New England in the most recent New England Poll conducted by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). That is the highest ranking of any team in the NEWMAC – Springfield College is ninth and WPI is tenth.
How It Happened:
Clark wasted little time getting on the board when Zack Blais (Tiverton, R.I.) and Sean Munroe (Silver Spring, Md.) set up TJ Zirkman (Freehold, N.J.), who ripped a rocket past Colby-Sawyer backstop Shane Sacks (Huntington Station, N.Y.) in the seventh minute of action.
The Chargers answered back a little more than two minutes later when Andrew Clothier (Mattamatta, New Zealand) connected with Rick Prindville (Hookset, N.H.) to even the score.
Clark moved ahead in the 28th minute after Blais, who was on the attack, was taken down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Zirkman calmly converted the PK, upping the Cougar advantage to 2-1.
Things stayed that way until the 76:21 mark when Munroe found himself one-on-one with Sacks on a breakaway after he got his defender to fall down. He dribbled straight at Sacks, who slid out towards him but Munroe was able to maneuver around him and then tapped the ball into a wide open net for a 3-1 lead.
Man Of The Match:
Zirkman had the two goals and was a factor for most of the night. He now has three goals on the season, equaling his total from his first three seasons combined.
"I am proud of the performance the team put in tonight," said O'Toole. "We want to make Granger Field a difficult place for teams to come and play and we had a great fan environment and support tonight from our family and friends."
The Cougars open up NEWMAC action on Saturday at WPI at 4:00 p.m. Amazingly, Clark has lost to the Engineers five straight times – all by one goal. Their last win over their league rivals from the other end of Park Avenue was September 18, 2011.