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Drew hands Mariners frustrating 1-0 loss in soccer

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy soccer team experienced a frustrating night in its 1-0 Landmark Conference loss to Drew University on Wednesday night.


The Mariners (8-6-1, 3-2-1) outshot the Rangers, 15-9, forced junior goalkeeper Rich Boland to make six saves and hit the woodwork twice, but could not solve one of the most stingy defenses in the nation in a rain-drenched game.


"We did everything we could to win but score a goal," Mariners coach Mike Smolens said. "Soccer can be tough sometimes.


Smolens added that he was "disappointed" with the loss "because we created a number of real good chances that we didn't finish. . . . We had a number of shots that didn't go in. They got a set piece that cost us the game."

That set piece came in the first half. Junior forward Sam Nepveux gave Drew (13-2-0, 4-1) all the scoring it needed at 17:43, when he headed in a Kevin Veliz free kick past goalkeeper Gary Poulin.


From there, a solid defense, top-flight goalkeeping and some luck helped keep the Mariners at bay and off the scoreboard. Drew has allowed only six goals this season.


Kings Point, which outshot Drew, 15-9, came close to finding the back of the net twice. Junior midfielder Ryan Silveira, who scored twice during a 6:31 span in the 4-1 homecoming victory over Moravian College on Saturday night, hit the crossbar in the first half and freshman Kyle Arestivo clanged a shot off the left post at 54:36.


Poulin made three saves.


The Mariners face a must-win situation when they play at Susquehanna (7-6-1, 3-2-0) in their final conference game of the season at noon Saturday if they want to qualify for the Landmark post-season tournament.


"What we have to do is be resilient, recover and be ready for Saturday," Smolens said.

Photo: Michael Dunn (8), Kurt Olsen (11) and their Mariners teammates could not solve Drew in a 1-0 loss. Photo by Shawn Antontelli