Sure, with its fourth game in seven days coming up, the Emerson men's soccer team had seen better days. But by the end of the match, few teams could have asked for a better finish to such a stretch.,The Newbury College Nighthawks marched onto Rotch Field Wednesday night hoping to pay homage to their namesake and prey on the weary.
Sure, with its fourth game in seven days coming up, the Emerson men's soccer team had seen better days. But by the end of the match, few teams could have asked for a better finish to such a stretch.
The Lions came into the match-up having won two straight games, with a win against Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) rival Norwich University and an overtime victory against Curry College.
In the first half against Newbury, it looked as though the Lions might run away with another one.
The Lions' defense held Newbury to a mere four shots in the half, only one of which was on net. The Emerson defense displayed great ball control, while playing with intensity and discipline.
Co-Captain Chris Glosecki roamed the field with a ferocity that pumped up his teammates and beat down on Newbury attackers.
At one point, his physical play even drew a warning from referee Jonathan Simon. But Coach Jared Scarpaci was happy with Glosecki's hard-nosed style of play.
"[Glosecki] is that guy who is in his senior year and he makes sure he is going to leave everything on the field," Scarpaci said. "I can't help but be pleased with him."
While freshman goaltender Jonas Imbert enjoyed an easy first half in net for Emerson, quite the opposite was true for Newbury net minder junior Brian Picanco.
Picanco faced 10 shots from the Emerson offense in the first half and let three of them in.
Senior Will Sagar scored the first goal unassisted at 11:37 and junior Ryan Poliseno added another goal at 20:47, assisted by Mike Grabow.
At 32:53 in the match, Sagar added another goal, to put the Lions up 3-0 heading into halftime.
Despite the energized first half, the Lions looked lethargic at the start of the second, and Newbury capitalized on that.
Increased pressure from the Nighthawks at the defensive end of the field put the Lions on their heels, and Newbury scored two goals within fifteen minutes. Sagar later admitted that his team has struggled closing out games in the past.
"We definitely have problems putting teams away at times," Sagar said.
With his team working to maintain control of the lead, "The Will Sagar Show" made an encore performance. Sporting the tenacity, as well as the mane of a lion, he scored his third goal of the game, assisted by Co-Captain Cody Schram.
In celebration of his hat trick, Sagar ran over to the fans on the sideline, pressed his finger to his lips to silence the crowd, then tipped his invisible cap to the Emersonians in attendance.
Sagar wasn't finished, either.
Less than 10 minutes after his third goal, he scored his fourth goal, giving him seven on the season. The goal also put the Lions up 5-2, an advantage they held onto for the duration of the match.
Sagar alone took nine shots on goal, equaling the entire output for the Nighthawks in the game.
And on the same night that Sagar more than doubled his total goals for this season, the Emerson men's team doubled the amount of wins they had last year.
The Lions improved to 6-2-1 on the season, while the Hawks fell to a dismal 1-5-1.
Sagar said his impressive performance was fueled by his poor play in the Lions' previous match against Curry College.
"I was coming off what was probably my worst game of the year, and I was just determined to do better," Sagar said. "I got a couple of early opportunities that were fairly easy, so I put those away, then just used the momentum."
Coach Scarpaci feels that Sagar has always had the potential to be a great player but has been hindered in the past.
"Will has had a series of injuries throughout his career here," Scarpaci said.
"He's been on, he's been off. He's a very hard worker and a fierce competitor."
Sagar hopes the team will continue its recent success.
"The whole team is uplifted," Sagar said. "We know we can compete with anybody, so that's what we plan on doing."