ATLANTA, Ga. -- Senior Joel Friesen registered his first career hat trick to lead the Covenant men's soccer team to a 3-1 season opening victory over Rutgers-Newark on Friday afternoon at the Sonny Carter Invitational in Atlanta.
Covenant (1-0) records a win in its opening match for a second straight season. Rutgers-Newark, an NCAA tournament participant last season, goes to 0-1 on the year after finishing last season 17-6-1 overall.
Friesen was the story in this one. The senior from Waxhaw, North Carolina, got the scoring going in the 19th minute as he found the back of the net, off an assist from Snoopy Davidson, to put the Scots ahead 1-0. Covenant would keep that advantage the rest of the first half despite being outshot 9-4.
In the second half, Friesen notched his second goal in the 56th minute to make it a 2-0 game. Friesen's final tally came in the 76th minute as he was once again assisted by Davidson. Rutgers-Newark took the shutout away from the Scots in the 77th minute when Charlie O'Connell got his shot past Covenant keeper Daniel Kubin to make it 3-1.
Kubin (1-0) went all 90 minutes and made four saves, three of which came in the first half. His counterpart, Matt Broomall (0-1) picked up three saves and allowed all three scores. Rutgers-Newark outshot the Scots 14-9, but Covenant had a 6-5 edge in shots on goal. Davidson took three shots and had two assists for the Scots, while Noah Wiersema and Ian Meredith also recorded shots.
Covenant will play Centre on Saturday at 2 p.m. to wrap up the Sonny Carter Invitational. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw when they last met in 2013. The Scots will then host the David Taaffe Invitational next weekend on Scotland Yard.