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Clark’s save lifts RIC to Little East Tournament finals


RIC goalkeeper Nic Clark made some key saves
in his team's 5-4 win over Eastern Connecticut.
Following a 0-0 double overtime stalemate, third-seeded Rhode Island College converted all five of its penalty kicks for a 5-4 PK decision over second-seeded Eastern Connecticut on Nov. 3 in semifinal action of the 2010 Little East Conference Men's Soccer Tournament. The Anchormen reach the Little East Conference tournament championship match for the fourth time in seven years.

RIC (11-6-1) will face the winner of Keene State and UMass Dartmouth on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. Should the fourth-seeded Corsairs upset top-seeded KSC, RIC will host the Championship Game.

Both Eastern (13-3-3) and RIC made their first four penalty kicks. Shooting first, Eastern then missed its fifth try when RIC junior goalkeeper Nic Clark (East Bridgewater, Mass.) made the save and junior forward Bruno Costa (Pawtucket) nailed the game-winner inside the right post. Junior midfielder Hector Espildora Fortuno (Malaga, Spain), sophomore defender Sean Maguire (Portsmouth), sophomore defender Pedro Hernandez (Pawtucket) and senior midfielder Jose Ruiz (Providence) also converted their tries for RIC.

Although Eastern brought a seven-game unbeaten streak into play and RIC was only 3-4-1 in its last eight, the Anchormen controlled the pace of the match throughout. Eastern junior goalkeeper Carl Appel was forced to make a career-high 13 saves to keep the visitors off the board.

Appel kept the game scoreless twice when he leaped to tip shots by Espildora Fortuno (first half) and freshman midfielder Ryan Rasieleski (Coventry) (second half) over the crossbar. Appel also dove to the post to deny Espildora Fortuno 17 minutes into the match and again to stop junior striker Mike Patriarca’s (Warren) quick turnaround shot seven minutes into the second half.

Clark came up big when he left his feet in a dive to his right to grab freshman Romaro Johnson’s bid from in close with seven minutes left in the first half.

Eastern was the defending tournament champion and had eliminated RIC at home in last year’s semifinals, 2-0. The Warriors had beaten Rhode Island the last five times the teams had met at Eastern. RIC won the 2008 title over Plymouth State University after losing in the finals in 2004 and 2005, the ’05 setback coming at the hands of Keene State.