Sophomore Adam Branco scored three times against Saint Anselm, putting him at the top of the NE-10 with 11 goals. His 26 points are also the seventh most in program history.
Branco notches first career hat trick in route
MANCHESTER, N.H. (October 30, 2015) – Sophomore Adam Branco's (Naugatuck, Connecticut/Naugatuck) first career hat trick spurred Stonehill College to a 6-2 victory over Saint Anselm College this afternoon in Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) men's soccer action at Melucci Field.
Branco opened up the scoring in the 18th minute, collecting a failed clearance by the Saint Anselm defense at the top of the box and shooting the ball off of the crossbar and into the goal. The first half remained tight, ending 1-0 in Stonehill's favor.
Stonehill began to attack at the outset of the second half. In the 55th minute, Branco scored his second goal of the game, beating junior goalkeeper Stephen McLeod (Chelmsford, Massachusetts/Chelmsford) on a breakaway, tucking the ball into the right corner to give the Skyhawks a 2-0 lead. Senior Drew Montano (Avon, Connecticut/Avon) extended the lead in the 61st minute when he received a pass from freshman Justin Brehm (Latham, New York/Shaker) and hit a rocket from 25 yards out into the goal.
Saint Anselm's freshman forward Emmet O'Callaghan (Weymouth, Massachusetts/Boston College High) put the Hawks on the board in the 73rd minute, but Branco squashed any comeback just one minute later in the 74th minute, beating a defender one-on-one and curling a shot into the right post.
O'Callaghan was determined to keep Saint Anselm in the game, scoring his second goal of the contest in the 77th minute on a feed from junior midfielder Zachary Heckt (South Windsor, Connecticut/South Windsor). Stonehill would once again respond a minute later, when Montano calmly sank a penalty shot to give him his ninth goal on the season. Montano's strike pushed the lead to 5-2.
Sophomore forward Trevor Torres (Swansea, Massachusetts/La Salle Academy) put the finishing touches on Stonehill's highest scoring output since 2009 with his goal in the 88th minute. Torres took a bouncing ball in traffic, turned and scored his first goal on the season, ending the score at 6-2.
Stonehill sophomore goalkeeper Conor McDonough (Bridgewater, Massachusetts/Coyle & Cassidy) made four saves and pushed his record to 3-0 on the season. McLeod played the full 90 minutes for Saint Anselm, making five stops on the day.
Branco's third goal of the game gave him his 11th tally on the season, putting him at the top of the NE-10 Conference in the category. The sophomores 26 points during the season are also the seventh highest in program history.
Stonehill's six goals were its highest total since defeating Mercy College, 6-3, in the 2009 season at Skyhawk Field on September 4th.
Stonehill concludes its season at 7-8-2 overall and 4-7-2 in the NE-10. Saint Anselm wraps up its season at 3-12-2 overall and 0-11-2 NE-10.