CHC men can’t quite keep up with Rams
by Tom Utescher
Chestnut Hill College men’s soccer coach Keith Cappo, a graduate of Penn Charter, returned to School House Lane last Thursday, bringing his CHC Griffins along to tackle conference rival Philadelphia University at the Rams’ Ravenhill Field.

More than an hour into the contest, a first-half goal for the hosts remained the only point on the scoreboard, but the pace picked up after that. CHC tied it up, Philly U. regained the lead, then the Griffins pulled even at 2-2 with just 6:51 to go.

Later in the same minute, the Rams went ahead for good, then they added an insurance goal with under two minutes remaining to lock up a 4-2 victory. Chestnut Hill departed with an overall record of 9-9 and a 5-7 mark in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, while the Rams rose to 8-2-1 in the CACC and 11-5-1 against all opponents. The Griffins had already earned a spot in the conference tournament, but Thursday’s loss consigned them to playing another road game at Philly U. in the first round.

“They’re a very good team and it was good for us to score a few goals and be tied with them a couple of times,” CHC’s Cappo said.

He noted that in an effort to keep pace with the Rams on the scoreboard, “We pushed an extra guy up and gave them an opportunity to have a three-on-two in the back, and they were skilled and made their chances count.”

The lone goal of the opening period came with 27:34 remaining, when the Rams’ Milos Racic, a 6’4” forward from Serbia, blasted a shot at the cage and another junior, Bermudian Ryan Purnell, swooped in to jab home the rebound. CHC had some chances but was outshot 8-4 in the first half. With five minutes left Chestnut Hill’s goalie, Mike Goldstein (10 saves), was able to deflect an outside missile launched by John Noriega, and in the final seconds a similar shot by the Griffins’ Carl Essenthier was turned aside by Rams keeper Alex Heston (five saves).

As the second half developed it looked like the Rams were going to protect their slim lead by keeping the ball in the visitors’ end of the field.

“They came out and possessed the ball well.” Cappo said, “We dropped another midfielder back and I think it helped us deny them some chances to play the ball to their forwards, who are really good.”

A corner kick from the right by CHC’s Gavin Reid delivered the ball to the front of the goal, and Essenthier slipped the ball to Ross Garabedian, who scored the tying goal with 28:12 remaining in the game. At 23:40 the hosts were ahead once more, this time with Racic playing the scorer’s role and Purnell as the set-up man.

The Griffins came back to tie once more thanks to Essenthier, who fired a straight shot from more than 25 yards out and put the ball just inside the left post with 6:51 on the clock. This time the Rams responded even more quickly; just 24 ticks later Purnell scored his second goal of the day off a feed from Kyle Altenau.

“They say the first five minutes after a goal are the most important for the team that scored,” Cappo related, “and we didn’t defend well after we scored our goals.”

With 1:35 to go, Purnell assisted on Sean Crossland’s insurance goal for the Rams.

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