Opoku guides men's soccer to 3-1 win over Newbury

Sophomore Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene scored his second goal of the season on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 to help Bates defeat Newbury College by a score of 3-1. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College) 

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Sophomore Eric Opoku dished out a pair of assists and sophomore Austin Sansone scored his first career goal in a 3-1 victory for the Bates men's soccer team Saturday afternoon over Newbury College. 

Bates (3-0) outshot the Nighthawks (2-4) 23-8 on the day. 

"We played very well," head coach Stewart Flaherty said. "We probably had longer periods of possession than any other game (so far) this season."  

The Bobcats got on the board in the 20th minute when Opoku (Accra, Ghana) chipped a ball from the left wing to the back post and senior Nate Merchant (Los Angeles, Calif.) headed the ball home for his team-leading fourth goal of the season. 

Bates lead 1-0 at the half and added to its lead in the 79th minute of action. Once again, Opoku facilitated the scoring by driving toward the goal and connecting with sophomore Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene (Bronx, N.Y.). The Bobcat center forward curled the ball into the top corner of the net for his second goal of the season, extending the lead to 2-0.

"We had to wait awhile for the second goal but those days happen," Flaherty said. "We had the maturity to deal with it well." 

Opoku's pair of assists on Saturday gives him a team-leading three on the season through three matches.

The Nighthawks cut the Bobcat lead to one in the 82nd minute when Nilton De Andrade scored an unassisted goal, making the score 2-1 in favor of Bates.

The Bobcats earned a corner kick opportunity in the 88th minute and took full advantage for a big insurance goal. Bates tallied 10 corner kicks on the afternoon and did not allow the Nighthawks to attempt a single corner. 

Junior Morgan Dewdney (Meriden, N.H.) took the corner and served it into the box where Sansone (New York, N.Y.) finished from short range to put the Bobcats up 3-1.

"It felt amazing to get out there with my team and get my first career goal," Sansone said. "I'm really proud of how we played today and was just happy I could contribute. Now it's back to business and our next game."  

"It was great to see Austin get his first career goal," Flaherty said. "He works very hard and there will be many more."  

Junior Robbie Montanaro (Belmont, Mass.) made four saves in goal for the Bobcats while his counterpart Jarrod Smith made seven between the pipes for the Nighthawks. 

Merchant and Opoku paced the Bobcats with four shots apiece. De Andrade took six of the Nighthawks' eight shots. 

The Bobcats return to NESCAC play on Saturday, September 23 when they visit Wesleyan for a 2:00 p.m. match.