SALISBURY, Md.- The Salisbury University men's soccer team defeated the United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners 2-1 in the Sea Gulls' home opener at the SU Soccer Complex in the opening game of the 2015 Elmer Lord Soccer Classic. The win for Head Coach Gerry DiBartolo marked his 400th career victory. DiBartolo is just the 38th coach in NCAA men's soccer to accomplish the feat and just the 17th to do so at the Division III ranks.
Salisbury opened up the scoring in the 28th minute when Nathan Mattola took the ball down the middle of the field and on a 2-on-1 with Leslie Umunna, chipped a through pass over to Umunna who was able to beat the Merchant Marine keeper from near the six-yard penalty spot for his first goal while donning the maroon and gold.
Merchant Marine would counter in the 40th minute as a result of a fortuitous Mariner bounce. Salisbury's senior keeper, Drew Staedeli, had just corralled the ball and was ready to boot it down field. However, on the kick, he hit a Merchant Marine straggling forward in the back, which left the ball lying in front of an empty net. Brandon-Rey Jumaoas then finished the ball into the keeper-less Salisbury net to tie the game.
Salisbury broke the stalemate in the 52nd minute when the Sea Gulls were awarded a free kick just inside their attacking half. Senior forward Matt Greene booted the ball into the box that then fell onto senior midfielder Taylor Groginski's foot just two yards away from the net. Groginski skillfully redirected the free kick in for his first goal of the season.
With the lead, Salisbury was able to control the pace of the game and control the ball thanks to strong play by all of its midfielders. Despite the strong second half play, Merchant Marine found one solid chance, but Staedeli was up to the task. With 11:30 left in the game, Merchant Marine forward Gavin Yingling found himself alone with the ball coming in fast on Staedeli. Staedeli came out, attacking the ball and reducing the attacking player's angle, and forced Yingling to put a shot right into his chest. The save was Staedeli's second highlight reel save of the afternoon, as in the first half he stopped a shot that was labeled for just inside the left pipe with a sprawling effort to his right.
Salisbury next takes the field Sunday, September 6 back at the SU Soccer complex to close out its play at the Elmer Lord Soccer Classic against Rutgers University- Camden at 3 p.m.