Senior nets sixth career game-winning goal in 81st minute
NORTON, Mass. – Senior back Ben Altneu (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) pushed Wheaton's unbeaten streak to ten-straight matches with his sixth career game-winning goal in the 81st minute of the contest as the Lyons edged WPI, 1-0, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday afternoon at Keefe Field.
Wheaton, ranked No. 14 overall in the latest D3soccer.com national poll and No. 18 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national rankings, improved to 9-0-1 on the season and 2-0-0 in the NEWMAC with today's win. The Engineers fall to 7-2-0 overall and 1-1-0 in conference play.
Altneu delivered the game-winning strike in the 81st minute as he struck a finesse shot from the top of the 18-yard box off of the right post that trickled by the dive of WPI goalkeeper Connor Hoeckele (Granby, Conn./Granby). Classmate Matheus Goncalves (Framingham, Mass./Worcester Academy) initiated the tally with a low pass to Altneu from about 25-yards out near the center of the box. Altneu's marker against the Engineers is only the third goal this season WPI has given up in nine games (six shutouts).
The Engineers almost found the go-ahead goal in the 59th minute as a header off of a free kick ricocheted off the right post before Wheaton cleared the ball away and thwarted any further potential danger.
At the 3:32 mark of the game, WPI senior forward Tynan MacLeod (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable) had his breakaway bid stopped by Wheaton junior goalkeeper Matt Dickey (Newton, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon) who came out of the net aggressively to cut down the angle on a shot just inside the top of the box. The Lyons best chance in the opening stanza came at 22:30 as senior forward Travis Blair (Hastings, N.Y./Hastings) had his header attempt turned away by Hoeckele with an outstretched diving save towards the right post.
Wheaton held a 23-16 advantage in shots and also posted a 7-1 differential in corners. Dickey made three saves to move his record to 4-0-0 on the season and pick up his second clean sheet (12th career). Hoeckele compiled a game-high seven saves in the loss (5-2-0).
The Lyons, who are currently on a four-game winning streak, are now 21-3-1 in the all-time series versus WPI, which dates back to 1996. Four out of the last five meetings between the clubs have been decided by one goal. Wheaton holds a 4-1-0 record during that span against the Engineers.
Wheaton (9-0-1, 2-0-0 NEWMAC) travels to Brandeis University on Tuesday, September 30 at 7 p.m. The Judges are ranked No. 5 in the latest NSCAA national poll. WPI (7-2-0, 1-1-0 NEWMAC) visit Anna Maria College next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.