Cougars Tie 6th Ranked Mustangs 3-3 To Close Out Season
HOLYOKE, MA - The Cougars hosted a Division I program in Monroe College this afternoon who entered the match ranked 6th in nation. Holyoke came out strong and led 3-0 early in the second half but were not able to hold off the Mustangs' late surge as the match ended in a 3-3 tie.
Sophomore midfielder and team tri-captain Joey Dent (Holyoke) got the ball rolling with a penalty kick goal in the 4th minute after a Monroe hand-ball. The Cougars had a few scoring opportunities even prior to the Dent goal as they came out very aggresive early. Freshman forward David Garcia-Ruiz (Turners Falls) added to the lead in the 33rd minute with a booming kick that found its way to the top-left corner of the net from about 20 yards out. Garcia-Ruiz's goal was assisted by freshman defender Reilly Forance. Holyoke would enter halftime with what seemed like a comfortable 2-0 advantage.
With energy carrying over from the first half, the Cougars aggresively attacked the net to begin the second half, eventually increasing their lead to 3-0 on a Reilly Forance (Southampton) goal from freshman midfielder Tyler Church.
The Mustangs began their comeback with goals in the 62nd and 69th minutes. With the scoreboard now reading 3-2, the Cougars needed to hold on for 20 more minutes to pull off the upset. Monroe refused to lay down as they would net the equalizer in the 73rd minute.
With this afternoon's tie, the Cougars finish out this 2011 season with an overall record of 2-9-3 and a Region 21 Division III mark of 2-4-2. Looking towards next season, HCC can expect to return a talented group of freshman players with valuable experience stemming from big minutes played in 2011.
Story and photos by Matt Patenaude