New London, CT -- The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (2-2-0) were defeated by the United States Coast Guard Academy Bears (2-1-0) by a score of 3-1 on a windy Saturday afternoon in New London, CT.
With the wind at their backs, the Mariners played well in the first half, controlling possession, moving the ball, and keeping it away from the Bears defenders.
However, it was Coast Guard that struck first in the 22nd minute when Bears junior midfielder Joe Bodzewski headed a goal into the net off of a well-placed pass across the goal crease to give USCGA a 1-0 lead.
In the 29th minute, the Mariners notched their only goal of the contest when a free kick was given to Kings Point following a Bears penalty. Sophomore defender Abboss Rezaie smashed the chance from about 40 yards out. The shot was blocked by the Coast Guard defense, but in an effort to direct the ball to their keeper, the ball bounced into the net squeaking just inside the near post, tying the game 1-1.
The Bears came out strong in the second half, now using the wind to their advantage, forcing Mariners junior goalkeeper Stephen Fucito to make a couple of big saves in the first ten minutes of the second half. In the 55th minute a trip was called on USMMA in front of the Mariner goalkeeper, leading to a penalty kick which USCGA capitalized on to nab a 2-1 lead.
Slowly, the Mariners were able to turn the tide, creating a few scoring chances of their own. Hard charging as the game was in the balance; Kings Point generated two shots (one on goal) and a corner kick in the span of two minutes.
Quickly, the Bears struck again in the 74th minute when Coast Guard senior captain Greg Kennerley directed a perfectly placed corner in the back of the net to take a 3-1 lead.
The Mariners didn't give up, and continued to produce scoring chances late in the contest, but the Bears goalkeeper was up to the challenge maintaining Coast Guard's two goal advantage.
The loss marks the first time in the past 12 meetings that Kings Point has lost to the Bears going 11-0-1 over that span.
"I know our guys wanted to keep our streak against Coast Guard alive," said Head Coach Mike Smolens. "Even though it was a loss to our rivals, we have to take it for what it was; a non-conference game. It shows us areas we have to work on before heading into Landmark play"
The Mariners return to Kings Point Tuesday September 11th when they take on SUNY Maritime at 6:00 PM.