MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. - Freshman Alex Smith scored two goals to pace the 10th-seeded Union College men's soccer team to a convincing 3-1 victory over seventh-seed Milligan (Tenn.) in the Opening Round of the 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday evening.
With the win, Union improved to 8-8-3 overall on the year, while Milligan ends their 2013 campaign with a 3-14 mark.
In the opening half, the Bulldogs were first to strike, as Smith scored his first goal of the night off a Alfie Caruso assist 26 minutes in to give Union the early 1-0 lead.
Union kept the lead over the next 19 minutes of play and into the locker room for halftime, thanks to some strong defensive play. Goalie Juan Gallegos made two saves down the stretch in the period, while Caruso blocked two shots, as well.
In the second half, Union put the Buffaloes away early on with a pair of goals. First, in the 48th minute, Jonathan Watson scored off a Smith assist, giving Union a 2-0 advantage. Then, in the 54th minute, Smith scored his second goal of the night off an assist from Watson, giving Union an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
From there, the Union defense continued to hold strong, as Gallegos took control in between the pipes in the second stanza, and made four saves. Milligan finally got on the scoreboard in the 75th minute with a goal, but it was too little, too late, as Union notched the AAC Tournament victory on the road.
Overall, Milligan outshout Union, 21-14 in the match. Gallegos made six saves on the seven shots taken on goal by the Buffaloes on the evening.
By the Numbers
- Smith scored multiple goals in a match for the fourth time on the year (Union has won each match). The Montego Bay, Jamaica native has now scored 14 goals on the year to lead the team.
- Watson scored his eighth goal of the season in the win, and recorded assist of the year. He has now scored 29 goals on his three-year career.
- Union's victory was the Bulldogs' first in the AAC Tournament since Nov. 6, 2010, a 2-0 win over Montreat (N.C.) in the Quarterfinals. Union fell the last two seasons in the AAC Quarterfinals on the road.
- Union swept two matches from Milligan in 2013, besting the Buffaloes, 2-1, on Sept. 28 at Burch/Nau Field. That win was the Bulldogs' first since 2010 against Milligan.
Union hits the road once again in the AAC Tournament on Saturday, traveling to top-seeded and No. 23 Bryan (Tenn.) in a Quarterfinal match. Game time has yet to be set for the tilt.