Clausen strikes twice to help Fords get past Ursinus

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - Freshman Matthew Clausen accounted for both goals as the Haverford College men's soccer team kept pace in the race for a Centennial Conference playoff spot by registering a 2-1 victory over host Ursinus College in Centennial action on Wednesday night.

For the second straight contest, the Fords (10-4-1, 4-2-1 CC) squared off with an opponent they were tied with in the tight conference standings. Haverford and the Bears (7-7-1, 3-3-1) were among four teams deadlocked in second in the Centennial entering the day's action.

The defending champion Fords showed they were ready for the challenge, however, as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead just over seven minutes into the game. Senior David Robinson sent a through ball into the box to freshman Matthew Clausen and the first-year forward put the ball past Ursinus goalie Ryan Murphy (7-7-1).

Haverford continued to apply the pressure and it paid off 16 minutes later when a determined Clausen was hauled down in the box. Clausen made the most of the opportunity to give his squad the lead when he converted the ensuing penalty kick for the third goal of his career.

The Fords' defense limited the Bears to a mere two shots over the opening 45 minutes as the hosts were still searching for their first goal of the game at the break.

Ursinus pulled within one in the 64th minute when Dean DerSimonian scored his third of the season off a long cross from Ryan Molyneaux that took a fortuitous bounce. The Bears would get no closer though as Haverford finished out the contest with smothering defense that permitted Ursinus only two more shots the rest of the way. The Bears' Ryan Butler entered the game as the second-leading goal scorer in the Centennial but the Fords did not give the sophomore any space as he registered just one shot on the night.

Tallying seven shots overall, Clausen was a force to be reckoned with throughout the contest as he came close on several occasions to adding to his goal total. Haverford finished with a 13-6 advantage in shots.

Fords goalie Sam Miller (3-1-1) needed to make just two saves to earn his third victory in five career starts. Ursinus' Murphy also made two stops but the junior was aided by a team save in the 83rd minute that prevented Clausen from notching his third of the game.

The fifth straight win over the Bears allowed the Fords to reach double figures in victories for the third consecutive campaign -- a feat not accomplished by the program since 1990-1992.

Haverford gets back into action on Saturday when it welcomes rival Swarthmore College, ranked 18th nationally in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III poll , to Walton Field in the Fords' final regular-season home contest. The Fords' eight seniors will be honored prior to the game against the first-place Garnet (9-2-4, 5-0-2) that begins at 3:30 p.m.