GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore Jonata Mbongo (Portland, Maine/Deering) scored with five seconds remaining in regulation and the University of Southern Maine Huskies earned a 2-1 win over the Castleton University Spartans in a Little East Conference men's soccer game Saturday morning at Hannaford Field.
With the win, Southern Maine earned a spot into the 2018 Little East Conference playoffs. The Huskies will be the sixth-seed and travel to third-seed UMass Boston on Tuesday (5:00 p.m.). It is just the third time in program history that the Huskies will make an appearance in the Little East Conference tournament and the first time since 2008. The Huskies are now 3-12-2 overall and 2-5-1 in the conference. Snapping a two-game win streak, Castleton is 9-8-1 and 3-4-1 in the LEC with the loss. The Spartans are the fifth seed and will travel to fourth seed Western Connecticut on Tuesday (TBA).
In a scoreless battle, Castleton freshman Rida Kori (Burlington, Vermont) scored in the 70th minute to give his team a one-goal advantage late in the game. Kori cleaned up a loose ball in the box after an initial shot from sophomore Jacob Godfrey (Castleton, Vermont) was saved by USM senior Simon Hulbert (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) and was unable to be cleared.
The Spartans held the led until the 79th minute when USM senior Charlie Mull (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) was brought down in the box and the Huskies were awarded a penalty kick. Southern Maine senior Christopher Pepin (Bowdoinham, Maine/Mount Ararat) took the shot and successfully hit a low driven ball to the left side of the frame for a 1-1 score. With just 11 minutes remaining in regulation, and Hulbert keeping the Spartans at bay making eight saves, including six in the second half, the game seemed on its way to overtime. However, junior Hany Ramadan (Portland, Maine/Deering) won a ball near the top of the box and played it back to a charging Mbongo, who hit a powerful shot to the far post for the game-winner. The goal was Mbongo's second of the season and the second consecutive goal scored in the final seconds of regulation for the Huskies this season.
Castleton goalkeeper freshman Ryan McKay (Mendon, Vermont/Rutland) made four saves in the loss and several key defensive clears in the loss.