Minutemen Clinch Top Spot In A-10 Tournament
Nov. 9, 2002
AMHERST, Mass. - Rhode Island's Perek Belleh scored an unassisted goal in the 87th minute giving the Rams a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the University of Massachusetts in men's soccer action before 842 fans on senior day at Rudd Field this afternoon. The loss snapped the Minutemen's 12-game unbeaten streak and was their first in conference play this season.
With George Washington's 2-0 win over Richmond this afternoon, the Minutemen clinched the top seed in next weekend's Atlantic 10 Championship, hosted by the Spiders. This is the second A-10 regular season title for the Minutemen in the last three seasons.
After a scoreless first half, the Minutemen took a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute as junior Ptah Myers (Columbus, Ohio) fed a pass to senior Yuri Morales (Santa Cruz, Calif.) for the score. It was his ninth goal of the season. In the 75th minute, Morales made a beautiful pass to senior Jeff Deren (Chicopee, Mass.) in the right side of the box, but his shot hit the right post. This turned out to be crucial as the Rams' Sasha Gotsmanov got the equalizer a little over two minutes later. Peter Benevides assisted on the goal.
Less than nine minutes later, Belleh took shot from about 15 yards out after the Minutemen failed to clear and beat senior goalkeeper Enzo Altomare (Derby, Conn.) for the game-winner. It was unassisted.
Altomare finished the day with three saves, while Dean Ruddy made two in just his fourth game of the year for the Rams. Rhode Island out-shot the Minutemen, 21-16, and held the edge in corners, 9-8. It was a very physical game which saw 41 total fouls, 21 by the Minutemen.
Massachusetts will play the fourth seed in the first semifinal game of the A-10 Championship on Friday, Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m., in Richmond, Va. The Minutemen will have to wait until the completion of this evening's games to find out their opponent.