FRAMINGHAM, Mass. --Led by a three-goal performance from tournament MVP Kessy Alves (Praia, Cape Verde) , the second-seeded Bridgewater State University men's soccer team captured the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament championship with a 5-3 come-from-behind finals victory over #1 Framingham State University on Sunday afternoon at Maple Street Field.
With the win, Bridgewater (11-7-1) has earned the league's automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament. The Bears, who also won the MASCAC Tournament crown in 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2015, advance to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history (1990, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015, 2018).
The hat trick marked the first of Alves' collegiate career as he helped the Bears battle back from a 2-0 deficit.
Framingham sophomore forward Akeem Bucknor (Manchester, Jamaica) opened the scoring 8:07 into the game as he scored off the rebound of his own shot after getting behind the BSU defense. Bucknor's initial shot from about 15 yards out was turned aside by an outstanding save by BSU junior netminder Nate Morgado (Dartmouth, Mass.). Bucknor, however, collected the rebound and drove a shot into the right side of the net to stake the Rams to the early 1-0 lead.
Bucknor made it a 2-0 game in the 22nd minute as he headed home a cross sent into the six by senior midfielder Ken Stahovish (Springfield, Mass.). Junior forward Bryce Nardizzi (Framingham, Mass.) picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
Just over a minute later, the Bears cut the deficit in half as sophomore forward Kevin Roberts (Medway, Mass.) headed home a long restart sent into the box junior defender Zachary Ells (Douglas, Mass.). For Roberts, the goal was his eighth of the season.
Bridgewater scored again off an Ells' restart in the 33rd minute. Ells found Alves near the top of the 18 and Alves bicycle kicked a shot over the outstretched hand of the Framingham keeper and into the right side of the net.
Freshman forward Ibrahim Kyeyune (Kampala, Uganda) tucked in a goal-line crossing pass from Stahovish in the 38th minute to reclaim the lead for the Rams. Junior forward Samuel Agyakwa (Sunyani, Ghana) also assisted on the marker.
Framingham would take the 3-2 lead into the break.
Freshman midfielder Robson Montrond (Brockton, Mass.) scored on a breakaway to tie the game up at 3-3 in the 54th minute of play. Sophomore midfielder Adam Gold (Norwood, Mass.) split a pair of defenders with a thru-ball and Montrond beat the keeper one-on-one with a shot inside the left post. Junior midfielder Justin Borges (Milford, Mass.) also assisted on the game-tying goal.
Off a Framingham turnover in the 80th minute, Alves beat a defender one-on-one on the right side and ripped a shot inside the right post to give the Bears their first lead of the game.
Just 71 seconds later, the Bears scored for the third time off a restart as Alves knocked home the rebound of an Ells' shot to make it a 5-3 game.
Ells finished with a career-high three assists on the afternoon as he now has a team-best ten helpers on the season. Alves's three goals increased his season total to a team-best nine. He also leads the Bears with 27 points.
Bridgewater finished with an 18-13 shot advantage while Framingham held a 5-3 edge in corner kick attempts.
Morgado turned aside seven shots to record his 11th win of the season and 21st of his career. Junior goalkeeper Corey Davidge (Blackstone, Mass.) made seven saves in the setback for the Rams who end the season with an overall record of 13-6-2.
The NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament Selection Show will be aired live on ncaa.com on Monday afternoon at one.