Nunes, Pelicaen fuel victory over Catamounts

Robin Schuppert

Junior Nick Pelicaen and senior Kevin Nunes each scored for the Bobcats in the men’s soccer team’s 2-1 home victory over the Vermont Catamounts on Saturday afternoon. Quinnipiac remains undefeated on the young season with a record of 3-0-4. The loss drops the Catamounts to 0-5-3.

“This is the second time that we’ve been undefeated going into our conference schedule in the last few years, but this year it means more to us than it did in 2007 because every single player has contributed,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “We didn’t deal with the adversity in 2007 that we had to deal with today. This is a winning program and these guys want to win. They know what it takes to win, and they refuse to lose.”

Two different players especially stepped up on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, Pelicaen put the Bobcats on the board 11 minutes into the second half on a give-and-go play with Nunes. Pelicaen had the ball at the top-right corner of the 18-yard box, passed it to Nunes who one touched it back to Pelicaen. Pelicaen took one dribble inside the box and then beat goalkeeper Tom Critz by pounding the ball into the lower-left corner. It was his first goal of the season.

The same duo hooked up again four minutes later. This time Pelicaen crossed a ball from the right side that went through the Vermont defense. Nunes came charging from behind, picked up the ball, took two dribbles and beat the goalie on the lower-left corner of the net for his first career goal.

“At this point we were already up 1-0 so we didn’t want to push up too high,” Nunes said. “We got the ball deep into [Pelicaen] and he was about to play a ball across so I decided to give it a chance. He played an excellent ball in, which I thought Tim Quigley was going to get on to. He let that go and that put me right in front of the goal wide open. It was nice and easy. Nick and [Quigley] did the hard part.”

Catamount forward Matt Hennessy gave his team a chance to come back by scoring with 10 minutes left in regulation. After receiving a pass from T.J. Gore, Hennessy dribbled around one defender, and then beat goalkeeper Freddy Hall with a shot into the top-left corner. The goal in the 80th minute made the Bobcats clamp down defensively in the final 10 minutes to hang on to the victory.

“This has been my fourth year here, and I don’t think it’s ever been as high as it is now,” Nunes said of the team’s camaraderie. “I think part of that is the fact that we have so many guys stepping up and contributing, and I think that’s definitely going to help us in the Conference, which is our ultimate goal.”

Nunes became the eighth different Bobcat to score a goal and the fourth player to record an assist this season.

Hall finished the game with five saves, three of which came in the second half. His counterpart, Critz, finished with three saves for Vermont, with only one coming in the second half.

The Bobcats return to action this Friday when they begin Northeast Conference play and take on Robert Morris. Kickoff at the Quinnipiac Soccer Field is set for 3 p.m.