The St. Thomas Aquinas College men' soccer team, ranked #8 in the East Region in this week's United Soccer Association Coaches poll, struck late to claim a 1-0 victory in an East Coast Conference contest against Roberts Wesleyan College. The Spartans have now won four straight overall - their longest such streak since the 2010 season - to improve to 7-2-1 overall and 3-1 in the ECC, while RWC slipped to 3-5-3, 0-3-1.
Continuing the trend of recent games, defense dominated a tightly-played first half which ended with STAC holding a 4-3 edge in shots, marking the sixth consecutive game in which the Spartans have held opponents to five shots or less over the first 45 minutes. St. Thomas Aquinas had five of the six corner kicks in the session, and four saves by Redhawks goalkeeper Ben Hastings preserved the scoreless deadlock.
With rain falling, both teams continued to be thwarted for the first 30 minutes of the second half, but Roberts Wesleyan threatened with a pair of scoring opportunities put over the bar. STAC responded as Aljaz Mak took a free kick from 30 yards out and put it perfectly into the box, where a clearing attempt landed on the foot of Federico Scaglioni, whose third goal of the season at the 75:04 mark broke the tie. RWC recorded just one shot the rest of the way as Spartans netminder Jack Nicholson claimed his third consecutive clean sheet and fourth of the season.
STAC ended the game with a 9-8 advantage in shots, with Nicholson making one save on the day. St. Thomas Aquinas is now 7-1-1 in its last nine games, and has allowed just five goals in the past eight to ascend into the regional rankings for the first time this season.
The Spartans return to action on Sunday, October 7, hosting NYIT in another big ECC clash. Game time is set for approximately 2:00 pm, as the back end of a double-header following the women's contest at noon.