If there was one play that could define the men’s soccer season through the first nine games of the year, it took place in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash with just six seconds to play.
The ball was played into the Quinnipiac defensive box and the referee blew the whistle, calling a foul on the Bobcats that set up a penalty kick. Red Flash midfielder Parnell Hegngi placed the ball, backed off a bit and set up for his attempt while senior goalkeeper Freddy Hall stood in the middle of the goal, eyes locked on the ball. The Bobcats were ahead 3-0 and had secured the victory, but Hall was not to be denied the shutout.
Hegngi started forward and booted a groundball headed for the left corner of the goal, but deflected off the outstretched arm of a diving Freddy Hall to preserve the shutout and keep the Bobcats undefeated (4-0-5, 1-0-1 NEC) on the season. The shutout was Hall’s fifth of the season and his play in goal highlighted a terrific effort from the Bobcats against the Red Flash.
“That’s what he does,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said of Hall. “As a goalkeeper you’re just zoning in on making the save and that’s what Freddy does. He makes saves at big times and that’s what makes him the goalkeeper that he is.”
Coming off a 0-0 tie against Robert Morris in Northeast Conference play, the Bobcat offense came to life against St. Francis.
“Prior to today, at practice we try to focus on the final touch,” Hall said. “Because we were creating a lot of chances against Robert Morris, but just the final touch and finishing the goal wasn’t there.”
Quinnipiac regained control with a couple of scoring chances for freshman forward Philip Suprise, and the hustle from sophomore forward Durval Pereira led to the first score of the game for the Bobcats.
On a free kick, Pereira sent in a high lob into the box that was controlled by junior Dominic Adams, who shot to the far post and landed in the back of the net to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead. It was Adams’ first goal of the season and Pereira’s first point.
After the goal, St. Francis turned up the aggression and the physical play amped up, enough so that Red Flash midfielder Patrick Fleming was the recipient of the first of six yellow cards on the day. But the physicality paid dividends for St. Francis, as they had several scoring opportunities in the final seven minutes of play. The Bobcats, however, held their ground on defense as junior defensemen Tolle Staffanson and Pierre Soubrier thwarted St. Francis’ attempts in the box and limited the Red Flash to shots from outside the box that never reached the net.
The Bobcats came out hitting on all cylinders In the second half, as Adams induced a foul in the box on a quick transition play. Soubrier moved into position, took a couple of strides, and while Motazed dove right, Soubrier drilled a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.
After Suprise just missed a shot on a wide open net, Quinnipiac’s aggression paid off soon after, as Suprise added another insurance goal with 25 minutes left to play. Suprise controlled the ball at the St. Francis end off a transition play, beat two defenders, moved to the middle of the box and ripped a shot into the left corner of the goal. It was the second goal of the year for Suprise and the Bobcats’ third goal – their highest total of the season to date.
“Coming out here and being able to turn around in a couple days and be able to score three and at the same time still being able to keep a clean sheet we were obviously thrilled with that,” Da Costa said.
Leading Quinnipiac in shots on goal was Suprise with three, while Pelicaen had two. Hall led the way for the Bobcats, matching his season-high with 11 saves.
The Bobcats look to continue their undefeated streak at home Friday against Bryant.
“We knew we were going to be a good team,” Da Costa said. “You never really expect to go undefeated. If it happens it’s a bonus. We have been fortunate enough for this to happen to us two out of the last three years. So we’re definitely happy with the way we are and it’s a testament to our players and their character and the depth of our team.”