Sometimes it does not matter how you start, but how you finish.
After Friday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sacred Heart, the University of Maine Black Bears were able to end Friends and Family weekend on a good note as defender Ben Wilcox scored a goal to defeat the Manhattan Jaspers 4-1 on Sunday. The win helped the Black Bears improve to 3-4-0.
“We had good service and we were hungry for the ball,” said Wilcox, who serves as co-captain of the Black Bears. “We were all excited to be playing at home and it gives us a little more confidence, but the biggest thing is we are working out all the kinks so that we are ready to go come conference time. Each game we will get a little bit better and be more organized.”
Before the Vermont native scored the first goal of the game, the Black Bears had trouble creating offense. Although they were able to keep the Jaspers from creating chances, a flurry of long balls that outpaced the forwards made things difficult until the 29th minute. On a UMaine corner, defender Jason Jacobe was able to place a powerful head on the ball, which made its way to Wilcox on the back post who knocked it in for a 1-0 lead.
UMaine was able to keep the lead heading into the halftime, but five minutes into the second half the Jaspers found the equalizer. As Manhattan was on the attack, they used a UMaine miscommunication to their advantage to deny keeper Chad Mongeon his first home shutout of the season.
Manhattan’s Joe Pumo played the ball into the box as a sliding Jacobe tried to knock the ball out of the way. However, his effort went wasted as Justin Schultz tied the game at 1-1.
“One of our strategies is not let the ball outside and it is a tough ball to handle when it’s wet and people are crashing,” said Jacobe, an engineering major. “All I knew was I was inside the post and there was a man on my back and I did not hear him call for it and it bounced off me.”
The Black Bears were able to make up for the mishap a little past the hour mark when forward Adam Chenault found the back of the net for the second time in the last three home games.
After watching Gabriel Germano miss an open net opportunity, the Black Bears worked their way back to the Manhattan half as Jacobe played a ball to Chenault, who gave the Black Bears’ the eventual game-winner.
Two minutes later, UMaine almost had another goal as Kevin Forgett broke in on the net but was called for offsides. Throughout most of the match, the normally stoic Travers Evans kept silent but on the possible Forgett chance, let his emotions be known. Luckily for Evans and Forgett, both of them had something to celebrate a few minutes later as Forgett scored to give Maine a 3-1 lead.
Forgett’s goal came as a swinging ball from freshman Ryan Kelley went over the head of Jasper keeper David Mires. Once Forgett spotted the ball, the former Massachusetts Olympic Development player hammered the chance in the back of net for his second goal of the season.
“I could tell the ball was going to bounce over his head and I ran behind him and shot in the goal after that you could tell by the way he was running he was in no position to catch it, said Forgett, who is tied for the team lead in goals. “(Sunday) we finished our opportunities and we had a pretty good defensive game by keeping our shape.”
Three minutes after the Forgett goal, Wilcox added a book-end goal off a header to give the Black Bears the 4-1 lead. Wilcox’s brace was created as Cooper Friend’s corner found the senior.
Although the Black Bears will play Harvard on Wednesday in their final non-America East match, the Black Bears used their last Alumni Field match to warm-up for conference play, with their first America East tilt scheduled against Boston University on September 24.
“We have Harvard first and then we will take things one game at a time,” Evans said. “Friday we were disappointed and what we needed to do was rebound and play well today. It’s the performance we need heading into next week.