KEENE, N.H. 9/23/09 - Senior Scott Cluff's (Kingston, Mass.) goal, his first of the season, was the difference in Keene State's 1-0 shutout win over Worcester State in non-conference men's soccer action at Owl Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.
It was the second straight shutout for the Owls (4-3), who climb over the .500 mark. Worcester State, coached by former Owl Christian Battaglia, falls to 1-6-1.
Keene State's pressure finally produced a goal at the 28:16 mark of the first half. Sophomore Phil Petrozzi (Gilford, N.H.) set up Cluff on the left side. Cluff settled the ball and drove it into the far corner of the net for what proved to be the game-winner.
"I made a cut to the net and Petrozzi gave me a great ball," said Cluff. "Their defender was a little off balance and I hit it to the far corner. "It felt good when I hit it."
Keene State, which controlled possession throughout the game, had a couple of scoring opportunities in the early going. Freshman Shawn Shand (Keene, N.H.) ran down a long ball that produced a shot. Freshman Joe Senecal (Manchaug, Mass.) pounced on the rebound that was also stopped by Lancer sophomore goalie Evan Wilga (Dudley, Mass.).
Junior Luke Sisco (Pine Plains, N.Y.) picked up a loose ball on the right side and fired a shot just over the cross bar as KSC picked up the momentum later in the half.
After KSC got on the board, Worcester State had an opportunity to tie the game in the closing minutes of the first half. Sophomore Andrew Babineau's (Webster, Mass.)shot was tipped by Owl junior goalie Tom Conran (South Windsor, Conn.). The ball landed in front of the net and junior Rob Musto (Guilford, Conn.) was able to knock it away.
Musto came close to extending the Owls lead early in the second half, but Wilga just got a piece of his shot ticketed for the far corner. Minutes later, Senecal broke in for a clean shot that Wilga was able to steer away from the net.
Unable to capitalize the rest of the game, the Owls settled for the 1-0 victory. Despite the Owls ability to control play, KSC Coach Ron Butcher was concerned."When you're up 1-0 and controlling a game anything can happen," he said. "We got another good game from our back-four and midfielder Danny Silverman was the man of the match. He changed things around when he went in there."
"We work on maintaining possession all the time in practice and hard work is going to win games," said Cluff.
Conran made one save to record his second shutout of the season. Wilga stopped 10 shots for the Lancers. KSC outshot WSC 24-9.
Both teams return to conference play on Saturday. Keene State travels to Eastern Conn. and Worcester State is at Mass. College of Liberal Arts.