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The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Byamungu Mugushu’s hat trick the decisive, Pioneers win a seven-goal thriller at home

Kayleigh Sturtevant
Byamungu Mugushu scored three goals in Utica’s 4-3 win over SUNY Poly.

Byamungu Mugushu could do no wrong in Utica’s 4-3 win over SUNY Polytechnic Institute on Sept. 9, scoring a hat trick at Laura M. Casamento field. 

The opening minutes were steady as both teams tried to put passes together. The Pioneers (1-1, 0-0 Empire 8) entered the match-up on home soil for the third time this season and looked the better to score at the quarter-hour mark. 

Mugushu, that man again, assisted by Anderson Velazquez in the 19th minute, fended off a defender and slotted it past Ryan Primus in goal to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead in the first period. 

Mugushu, Utica’s top goal scorer and first-team All-conference in 2022, extended his tally to six goals in seven matches. Mugushu, a Syracuse native by way of a Dzaleka refugee in Malawi, was featured on on Sept. 7 as one of CNY’s athletes. Moments after the interview his sister called and told him his best friend’s brother had just been shot and killed by police in Syracuse.

“I told myself that today’s game was [for] them,” Mugushu said in a postgame interview with The Tangerine. “I just had to stay focused and stay committed to what I’m supposed to do.”

Shortly after, the Wildcats would earn their first set piece of the game taken by Edward Greene in the 20th minute. His corner kick led to a chance on goal but Xander Novack’s shot was blocked off the line. 

The two sides would make their first substitutions of the game when Gavin Baxter made way for Brady Barnard off the bench, an attacking change for the home side.

Down one, SUNY Poly brought on Dominick Spychalski to replace Edgar Gomez. Utica would make another change when freshman Adin Day, goal soccer from the season opener, came on for Felix Loselose. Right behind him was Thomas Nimineh for the opposition coming off for Jael Casimir, who was shown yellow shortly after. 

Mugushu would get his second of the game in the 32nd minute, chipping one over Primus’s head in goal off an assist by Cody Baker-Green giving the Pioneers a 2-0 advantage in the opening period. 

SUNY Poly would score right before the end of the period when Baker-Green was shown a yellow card resulting in a penalty in the last two minutes of the first. 

Jhonny Theze, a former Utica player from the spot coolly cut the deficit in half in the dying minutes to make it 2-1 at halftime. 

Baker-Green’s crucial foul cost the Pioneers a two-goal advantage heading into halftime. With six shots on goal compared to three from the Wildcats and Mugushu’s seventh goal in as many matches the first half belonged to the home side but it was anyone’s game heading into the last 45 minutes of play. 

The Wildcats got their first equalizer in the 51st minute after a corner kick resulted in a penalty — a handball the referee signaled. 

Theze, again, from the spot made it 2-2. But the Pioneers regained their one-goal advantage in the 55th minute 3-2, a hat trick for Mugushu and four goals from three matches this season.

It was end-to-end stuff when Mo Ndow equalized for SUNY Poly in the 61st minute. Both teams with seven shots on target up to that point were trading blows as the clock winded down.

Priums’s save kept his side level in the 67th minute from Utica’s eighth shot on target. He was back in again in the 72nd minute off a shot from Baker-Green, who assisted the second goal for the Pioneers. 

SUNY Poly (1-2, 0-0 SUNYAC) hoping for their second win of the season, and Utica looking to make it two wins from three at home, were both tied in the 78th minute and headed into the final 11 minutes of play.

The deadlock was broken when Utica got the winning goal from Bernard, the first-half substitute, his first of the season and Utica’s fourth on the day in the 84th minute sealing the win 4-3. 

“It was a big relief for me,” Bernard said. “I’ve been struggling to score this season and for it to be the game-winner made it feel a lot better.”

Mugushu was not only the decisive factor in the Pioneer’s seven-goal thrilling win at home with three goals but will be the x-factor for the remainder of the season. 

“The team needs me not just to score goals but to be a leader and get everyone on the same page and not let anyone overreact about something that’s negative,” he said. 

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About the Contributors
Mickale Thompson
Mickale Thompson, Editor-In-Chief
Class Year: Senior Dual Major: Communication and Media & Business Management Previous Position: Contributing Writer (2021), Staff Writer (2021), Special Assignments Reporter (2022), Features Editor (2023), News Editor (2023)
Kayleigh Sturtevant
Kayleigh Sturtevant, Multimedia Editor
Class Year: Senior Major: Sports Management Previous Position: Multimedia Editor (Fall 2023)

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