The Wheaton College men’s soccer team opened its season with a pair of home victories over non-region teams, downing State University of New York at New Paltz, 3-2 in overtime on Friday before defeating Fontbonne University (MO), 5-0 on Sunday. The Blue and White is receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America
(NSCAA) preseason national poll.
Against SUNY New Paltz, the Lyons won their 13th consecutive home opener when sophomore Justin Hart (Ashland, MA/Ashland) tallied the game-winner less than four minutes into overtime. Wheaton rallied from an early deficit with goals by sophomores Jeff Shea (Canton,
MA/Canton) and Dan Lane (Dedham, MA/Worcester Academy) for a 2-1 lead at 63:43, but the Hawks tallied late in regulation to force the extra session. Senior Matt Pachniuk (Newtown, CT/Newtown) made six saves.
Senior back Dennis Durao (West Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic) tied a school record with three assists versus Fontbonne. Durao entered the contest with four career points in 62 games before playing a hand in four goals. A Lyon had recorded a trio of helpers on five previous occasions, last on October 2, 2002. Durao later converted a penalty kick in the 72nd minute for his first collegiate tally to give Wheaton its final marker. Lane scored the first two goals of the game, with Durao assisting on the first at 6:06. Just 42 seconds after halftime, Durao sent a long ball to senior Ariel Tatum (Cayman Islands, BWI/Holderness School) for Wheaton’s third goal before assisting Hart’s second-half tally. Pachniuk and senior David Croft (Cape Elizabeth, ME/Cape Elizabeth) combined for three stops.