Men's soccer uses second half surge to beat Newbury 2-1

First-year Eric Opoku dished out an assist in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Newbury. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Sophomore Drew Parsons's first career goal and senior captain Luke McNabb's third career goal happened within seconds of each other in the second half Sunday in a 2-1 victory for the Bates men's soccer team over previously undefeated Newbury at Garcelon Field. 

The Bobcats (2-1) and the Nighthawks (4-1-1) played a mostly scoreless first half. Newbury got off the first four shots in the match, with first-year Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene (Bronx, N.Y.) tallying a defensive save at the 8:51 mark by clearing a ball out of harm's way that slipped past Bates sophomore keeper Robbie Montanaro (Belmont, Mass.) and appeared headed for the back of the net. 

At one point in the first half, the teams went 10 minutes between either squad recording a shot. Bates' first shot came at the 20:53 mark when junior midfielder PJ DiBenedetto (Buffalo, N.Y.) shot one over the crossbar. 

The first half appeared headed towards a scoreless tie until Newbury scored with one second remaining. Junior Max Watson (Yarmouth, Maine) saved Gabe Agbim's shot with about 10 seconds left but the ball deflected to Newbury's Jose Palma who put it away for his first goal of the season.

Down 1-0 at halftime, the Bobcats brought the intensity up a notch in the second half. They did out-shoot the Nighthawks 11-8 in the first half but that difference increased to 16-5 in the second half.

In the 53rd minute, the Bobcats took control of the match. First-year Eric Opoku (Accra, Ghana) delivered a perfect ball to Parsons (Farmington, Maine) who scored to even the match at one.

Then just 34 seconds later, junior Nate Merchant (Los Angeles, Calif.) attacked on the far side. A give-and-go with McNabb (Glastonbury, Conn.) set the senior captain up perfectly. McNabb drove in closer and fired a shot that found the back of the net, giving Bates a 2-1 lead they did not relinquish.

The second half proved to be very physical, with a combined four yellow cards handed out. Montanaro made four saves in goal on the afternoon for the Bobcats. 

Bates visits the University of New England Wednesday for a match under the lights at 8:00 p.m.