KINGS POINT, N.Y. – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy broke open the game with three goals over almost a 22-minute span in the second half to record a 4-0 non-conference men's soccer victory over York College on Saturday.
Four players scored for the Mariners (2-0), who were ranked eighth regionally in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III pre-season poll.
Tanner Nestler (Asheville, N.C.) tallied in the first half, while Andrew MacKenzie (San Diego, Calif.) , Ryan Silveira (Katy, Texas) and David Pfeil (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) scored during a 21:27 span in the second half at Captain Tomb Field. Sophomore defender Kurt Olsen (Charlotte, N.C.) set up two goals.
While head coach Mike Smolens was pleased with the win, he felt his team squandered several excellent scoring opportunities.
The Mariners dominated the match, played on Plebe Acceptance Day and Parents Weekend, outshooting the Cardinals (0-2), 33-7, and forcing goalkeeper Qudus Kassim and Pierreson Pierre Louis to combine to make 17 saves.
"We certainly had the better of play throughout the game and we're pleased to get another win," Smolens said. "We need to finish our opportunities better, as we're creating a number of chances without putting the other team away.
"Coach [John] Fitzgerald, coach [Adam] Pullinen and I are happy that we were able to secure another clean sheet and our defense has been consistently solid so far this season."
Nestler, a freshman forward, scored his first collegiate goal at 38:50 as he latched onto a through ball from Hollis Irvine. He took a shot that hit the left post and deflected into the goal.
Kings Point continued to pressure Kassim, who made 11 saves in the 55:29 he played before he was removed due to an injury, but could not find the back of the net until 55:18. That's when MacKenzie put in an unassisted goal for a 2-0 lead. Olsen set up Silveira at 71:43 and Pfeil tallied at 76:45 to close out the scoring.
Mariners sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Reiner t (Houston, Texas), who made four saves in the opening 80 minutes, and freshman reserve Stephen Fucity (Kennesaw, Ga.), who did not have to make a save, combined for the shutout.
Smolens was able to clear his bench in the second half and use 26 players. That experience will be necessary as the season wears on.
The Mariners will visit Rutgers-Newark on Thursday at 8 p.m before returning home against Coast Guard on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m.
"Our team understands that we need to make improvements if we're going to win on Wednesday, against a strong opponent in Rutgers-Newark," Smolens said. "We're looking forward to the challenge. "