SARANAC LAKE - An unbeaten streak to start the season that included no goals against came to an abrupt end for the North Country Community College men's soccer team Wednesday, as visiting Clinton posted a 2-1 victory on the Saints' pitch.
All three goals were scored in the opening half. The Saints, who fell to 4-1 with the loss, got on the board first when Pierrelens Cius found the back of the net from 30 yards out after firing a shot past Cougars goalkeeper Travis Agoney less than 10 minutes into the contest.
Clinton then took control of the match, getting the tying goal from Jamie Davison midway through the half, and followed with the game-winner on a head ball from Jordan Knight with 1:43 left before intermission. The two tallies by the visitors were the first goals allowed by the Saints this season.
North Country midfielder Andrew Stone crosses the ball while Clinton Community’s Dylan Riley leaps to defend during Wednesday’s junior college match in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
The Saints were unable to come up with any solid scoring chances after halftime, despite getting some corner kick crosses that were sent in front of the CCC net.
"We did not play well, especially in the first half," said NCCC head coach Adam diVincenzo. "This was a disappointing loss. We just watched them score and we didn't do much to stop them. The result of this match was correct. They (the Cougars) definitely wanted it more."
The game was the fourth in a seven-game road stretch for the Cougars, who improved to 5-3 with the win.
"We were very strong on defense today, and we did a nice job possessing and moving the ball," CCC head coach Zac Eppler said. "Our guys played hard. We started a little slow, but once we got going, we never let up."
Knight also picked up an assist to finish as Clinton's top offensive player, and Matt Leta added one assist for the winners. Agoney recorded five saves in net for the Cougars and Beau Stanford had two saves in goal for the Saints.
Eppler said Beekmantown graduates Keon Jahanbakhsh and Ben Smith turned in strong performances on defense, while Ryan Lee and Daniel Escobar were solid in the midfield.
Clinton resumes play Saturday at Finger Lakes.
The schedule gets even more difficult for the NCCC men, who travel this weekend for two matches against nationally-ranked teams. On Saturday, the Saints clash with eighth-ranked Mohawk Valley and then play Herkimer - the top NJCAA Division III squad in the country - on Sunday.
"We didn't show what we were capable of today," diVincenzo said. "We have two tough games this weekend, and we have some work to do."
Clinton 2, North Country 1
1. N, Cius, 9:28; 2. C, Davison (Knight), 20:19; 3. C, Knight (Leta), 43:17.
Shots: NCCC 6, CCC 4
Saves: Agoney, C, 5; Stanford, N, 2.