by Wesley Davis
The USMMA soccer team sent its seniors off with a 3-0 victory over Landmark Conference rival Moravian Saturday afternoon in the group's final regular season game at Brooks Stadium. The Mariners honored its eight graduating seniors before the game and two of them stood out after the opening whistle as well. Nick Cuellar (San Diego, CA) registered the Mariners third goal and goalkeeper Gary Poulin (Hauppauge, NY) picked up a clean sheet.
"Coach Fitzgerald, Coach Banks and I are pleased that our team came out strong and put away Moravian right away on Senior Day," said Head Coach Michael Smolens. "We are very proud of our seniors and all they have accomplished at the Academy. The work they have done here will set them up for a great future. Our team pressured Moravian from the outset and scored some quality goals early in the match, which was great. We know we need another strong effort tomorrow, as we have another important conference match against Juniata in Pennsylvania."
Merchant Marine (6-5-1, 3-1-0, Landmark) tallied its first goal of the day in the third minute as Kyle Arestivo (Northport, NY) scored from from from yards out on a cross from Nick Vogel (Mechanicsburg, PA). Just nine minutes later, Dan Weldon (Holland Township, NJ), who was the USMMA hero on Wednesday night against Drew, made it 2-0 with Vogel earning another assist. Cuellar scored struck with 19 minutes to play in the half as he fired through the heart of the Greyhouds defense and found back of the net.
Moravian (7-8-2, 0-6-0 Landmark) was unable to find any offense and had all four of its shots on goal turned away by Poulin. The second half was all about defense. Poulin cemented his shutout victory with a beautiful save in the 69th minute.
The victory gives the Mariners three points in the Landmark Conference standings and puts them in the thick of the playoff race. The USMMA soccer will have a quick turnaround, playing Junita tomorrow in a 1:00 pm kick-off at a neutral site in Bethlehem, PA.