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Murphy (3 goals, 2 assists) propels men's soccer at USM

GORHAM, Maine -- For the second year in a row, the University of Southern Maine had no answer for Bates senior John Murphy.

The Bobcats' team captain figured in all five of Bates' goals, scoring three and assisting on two, in a 5-1 non-conference win at USM's Hannaford Field.

Murphy's performance was reminiscent of Oct. 19, 2011, when he had two goals and two assists in a 7-1 win over the Huskies at Garcelon Field.

The win snapped a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) for the Bobcats, and improved their overall record to 3-7-2.  The Huskies dropped their second straight match to slide to 4-11-0.

Murphy provided the Bobcats all the offense they would need, while doubling his season point total. The senior captain put the visitors up 1-0 at the 20:00 mark, converting on a Southern Maine mistake in the back.

Senior defenseman Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) made it 2-0 off a set piece in the 37th minute. Barron got his head on a cross curled into the box by Murphy, just enough to change the direction past USM freshman goalkeeper Korey Mulherin (Leeds, Maine). The goal was Barron's first this season, and the second of his career.

Murphy added the Bobcats' third goal shortly before halftime, out of a scramble in front of Mulherin.

Southern Maine got on the board in the second half as sophomore Mazen Aljari (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) received a through pass from rookie Ahmed Ben Afif (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and slid a 15-yard shot out of the reach of Bates first-year keeper Sam Polito (Far Hills, N.J.) for his seventh marker of the season in the 63rd minute.

A minute later, Murphy set up sophomore Nick Ford (Columbus, Ohio) for Ford's first goal this season.  Murphy closed out the scoring in the 76th minute with an opportunistic goal in front of the net off an assist from first-year Luis Pereira (Curitiba, Brazil) -- the 20th in his career, to go along with 14 assists. Murphy now has six goals and four assists this season.

Polito was credited with 10 saves before giving way to classmate Zach Shabman (Scarsdale, N.Y.) in the 82nd minute. Shabman made two stops over the final eight minutes. Mulherin split the USM goaltending chores with classmate Chad O'Brien (Providence, R.I.), as each played a half. Mulherin made one save while O'Brien registered six stops.

Bates had a 25-18 edge in shots in the fast-paced match, and a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Bates stays on the road this Saturday at 11am, playing a NESCAC match at Middlebury College.