Late first-half goals sinks host Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Alvand Hajizadeh scored the only goal of the game with a minute remaining in the first half Sunday afternoon and Middlebury College went on to a 1-0 victory over Plymouth State University in a non-conference men's soccer match at Panther Field.
Hajizadeh scored on a beautiful header to the left side of the goal, fed to him on a diagonal free kick from sophomore Brandon Robinson. The Middlebury defense, led by juniors Graham Knisley and William Gevertz, limited the home team to just four shots and senior goalkeeper Zach Abdu-Glass made two saves to complete the clean sheet. Middlebury, which defeated Colby 1-0 in overtime on Saturday, went on to its third straight victory, improving to 3-1, while Plymouth State fell to 2-5.
Middlebury had an 11-3 margin in shots in the first half but didn't score until the final minute. Senior Josh Lyvers had the first good scoring attempt nine minute in after a header pass from classmate Jack Freeman but his shot went wide right. A header by senior Matt Martin on a cross by junior Ethan Collins 10 minutes later also sailed right, and a cross from Hajizadeh to sophomore Harper Williams was broken up on a nice play by PSU senior Parker Spear (Sodus Point, N.Y.)
Hajizadeh's goal with 1:19 remaining in the first half gave the visitors momentum heading into the second half, but the home team went back and forth with them. Junior Jacob Sjoberg (Linkoping, Sweden) had perhaps PSU's best chance with in the 65th minute but his shot just inside the top of the box was tipped over the crossbar by Abdu-Glass. Middlebury was looking for an insurance goal but junior Tyler Smith missed high with a shot with 18 minutes remaining and PSU freshman keeper Sam Whipple (Kingston, N.H.), making his first career start, stopped Hajizadeh from point blank range with six minutes to play.
Middlebury finished with a 17-4 advantage in shots and an 11-2 margin in corner kicks. Whipple wound up with three saves for PSU.
PSU looks to stop its three-game skid Wednesday with a non-conference match at Castleton while Middlebury hosts Bowdoin and Amherst next Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
-- 30 --