Men's Soccer Wins A-10 Regular Season Title With 1-0 Shutout Of Charlotte
Nov. 9, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - Ben Arikian's header in the 48th minute proved the difference maker as the UMass men's soccer team shutout Charlotte, 1-0, at Rudd Field earning the Atlantic 10 Regular Season league title. With the win, the Minutemen (9-6-3, 7-1-1 A-10) locked up the No. 1 seed in next weekend's Atlantic 10 Tournament which will be hosted by Duquesne in Pittsburgh.
The Minutemen are now unbeaten in their last eight games including seven straight victories - it is the longest unbeaten streak since going unbeaten in 12 straight games during the 2002 campaign.
This marked the fourth Regular Season Championship, the first since 2002, for UMass which is the defending tournament champion. Sunday's game with Charlotte (12-6-1, 4-4-1 A-10) was a rematch of the 2007 A-10 Tournament Championship Game which UMass won 2-0 to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The A-10 Tournament will begin on Thursday, Nov. 13 and conclude on Sunday, Nov. 16 with the Championship Game. The Minutemen will have a bye for Thursday's quarterfinals and face the lowest remaining seed in Friday's semifinal. Temple earned the second seed of the tournment and will also have a bye. The quarterfinal round will be #4 Saint Louis/#5 Fordham and #3 Dayton/#6 George Washington.
On Sunday, after a deadlocked first half, sophomore Ben Arikian (West Islip, N.Y.) headed home his fourth goal of the season at the 48:04 mark. The 5-foot-5 Arikian timed a run through the left side of the 18-yard box leaping to connect on junior Dan Lepone's (Lebanon, Pa.) service from near mid-field.
Despite suffering a cut on his head that required heavy bandaging and being sidelined earlier in the game, Arikian managed to head the ball to the far right post for the game-winner. He has now factored into eight of UMass' nine game-winning goals this season.
UMass finished the game with a slight 12-to-10 edge in shots and both teams earned nine corner kicks. Defensively, the Minutemen were able to hold Charlotte's Chris Salvaggione, the league's leader in points and goals per game, without a single shot in the game.
Senior keeper Zack Simmons (Durham, N.H.) made three saves - all in the second half - for UMass, while Charlotte keeper David Martin made one.
Prior to the game, UMass honored its senior class of Simmons, Tony Bassett (San Francisco, Calif.) Chris Brown (Tucson, Ariz.), Mike DeSantis (Stoneham, Mass.) and Prince Ofosu (Agogo, Ghana). As a group, the 2008 senior class has accounted for 42 wins, 30 shutouts, three A-10 Tournament apprearances, one A-10 Regular-Season Title, one A-10 Championship Title, UMass' second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and UMass' first-ever NCAA College Cup appearance.