Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Men’s soccer rallies to defeat Wentworth 2-0

First-year+forward+Luke+Maxwell+celebrates+his+first+career+goal+in+the+86th+minute+against+Wentworth.
Arthur Mansavage
First-year forward Luke Maxwell celebrates his first career goal in the 86th minute against Wentworth.

The Emerson men’s soccer team began Tuesday’s matchup against Wentworth with momentum on their side. In the days leading up, they’d beaten Bates and Suffolk, ranking 19th in the NCAA Div. III. The team hoped to end the home stand on a high note, their upbeat energy radiating throughout Rotch Field.

Ten minutes in, everything changed.

Junior defender Gregory Kopanezos collided with a Wentworth player while pursuing the ball, going down with a currently undisclosed injury. He was taken to a nearby hospital, and his teammates and coaches rallied around him.

First-year Head Coach Liam McKersie said that while it was obviously challenging to resume play, they did so because of Kopanezos’s message to his teammates: “Get the win.”

“We wanted to do that for one of our leaders, one of our captains, one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever coached,” McKersie said. “The focus was, ‘We’re going to do this, because that’s what Greg would want, that’s how Greg would handle it.’ So, we did it for him.”

The Lions followed through on their promise, defeating Wentworth 2-0 in an effort that went beyond the box score.

Following Kopanezos’s injury, Emerson and Wentworth engaged in a tense back-and-forth. Wentworth’s shots were countered by first-year goalkeeper Wylie Jelinek, who notched two saves in the 12th minute.

The Lions were locked in defensively, but they couldn’t capitalize on the offensive end for most of the first half. Junior forward Teddy Bushara hit a neat spin move, easily weaving through Wentworth defense, but his shot attempt in the 33rd minute fell short. First-year midfielder Thomas Pelino had an opportunity five minutes later, but his shot hit the right post.

Emerson got on the board near the end of the opening half. Bushara found senior forward Thomas Chuaqui, who got the ball in the back of the net with nearly 43 minutes elapsed. The Lions then entered the locker room in front, as they hoped to close out a difficult evening.

In an attempt to set the tone, the Lions began with possession in the second half. Pelino’s shot, from near the midfield circle, went off the post. Wentworth proceeded to go wide on several subsequent attempts, at one point having only five of their twelve shots on goal.

The Leopards remained persistent, as Emerson’s defense once again forced a wide shot by Wentworth in the 56th minute. Wentworth continued to struggle with their attempts, one shot hitting the top of the Rotch Field fence in the 63rd minute. Jelinek continued to excel in the Lions’ goal, notching his sixth save of the night near the 70th minute of action.

Following Jelinek’s seventh save, sophomore midfielder Evan Lee made a defensive save in the 77th minute. While the Leopards remained prowling on the attack, the Lions would not let up.

Finally, Maxwell found the back of the net with four minutes to play, assisted by Lee and sophomore midfielder Jorah Delbanco. The Lions’ victory improved their record to 3-0-2 overall.

Wentworth attempted a high volume of shots with little success, with eight of their 21 shots on goal. Emerson, on the other hand, shot an efficient 5-for-12 on the evening.

After the game, McKersie offered an encouraging update on Kopanezos.

“[Greg] is in good hands and in good spirits at the hospital,” McKersie said. “As far as the details, that’s confidential right now, but he’s in good hands and healthy.”

He also mentioned how the win was “a great team effort,” and heralded junior defender Emmett Biewald for stepping in for Kopanezo.

“He really worked hard, and I think Greg is and would be proud of that effort,” McKersie said. “For me, [the highlight was] Emmett stepping up and blocking a shot on the goal line when the score was still 1-0. For me, he would get the game ball.”

McKersie, who returned to the Lions following a brief assistant coach stint at Ithaca College, touched on what it means to lead the men’s soccer team on this new journey.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “I’m so happy to be back with this group. It’s a special program that has a lot of people, and it’s a family that has worked so hard over the last decade-plus [in the NEWMAC]. [The team] has worked so hard to get our standards to a really high level, and it’s great to be starting off this way.”

The Lions’ next three games are on the road, including the beginning of conference play against WPI on Sept. 23. Their next game is at Springfield College on Saturday, Sep. 16, at 1:00 PM.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Pagkalinawan, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief
Jordan Pagkalinawan (he/him) hails from Burbank, California, and serves as The Beacon’s Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. A sophomore journalism student with a minor in Sports Communication, he was the sports editor for the Fall 2023 semester and a sports staff writer for most of his first year. Overseeing The Beacon’s operations in the Netherlands, Jordan is committed to elevating high-quality pieces of narrative and multimedia journalism. When he isn’t working for the Beacon, Jordan can be found listening to various genres of music, playing, watching, and writing about basketball, and exploring local bookstores and cafes.

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