Soccer starts on right foot

Doug Manners

If first impressions are important, then men’s soccer forward Jadir Barbosa should have no problems accomplishing his goal to lead the team in scoring this season. Through three games, the newcomer has already tallied two of the team’s three goals and supplied both game-winners.

Not a bad way to kick-start your collegiate career. And Barbosa’s success has paid immediate dividends, as he was named Northeast Conference (NEC) Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Week after his first week playing for Quinnipiac.

In addition to being new to Quinnipiac, Barbosa is also new to the United States. After attending college and playing club soccer in his native Brazil for the past two years, Barbosa turned down options to play in Italy and chose to come to Quinnipiac.

“I had a friend that attended Quinnipiac and he said good things about the school,” Barbosa said through a translator. “It was also a good place for my education.”

A marketing major, Barbosa helped the Bobcats gain a split in their two games at the Black Bear Invitational in Orono, ME. After Quinnipiac dropped a 2-1 decision to Cal Poly, Barbosa scored on a direct kick from 30 yards out to defeat Army 1-0 in overtime. Junior goaltender Conor Shilcock-Elliott, of Rosemont, PA., made 13 saves in the game to record his first shutout of the season.

Three days later, Barbosa scored the only goal in Quinnipiac’s game at the University of Hartford. The 22-year old freshman put a shot through a crowd of players that slid past Hartford goaltender Ryan Carr. The goal, which came in the second half at the 58:39 mark, was assisted by junior Cory Shilcock-Elliott, of Rosemont, PA.

“Scoring goals is always important and I was happy to help the team win,” Barbosa said. “Hopefully there will be more to come.”

Barbosa has set the bar high for both himself and the team this season. As an individual, he is aiming to lead both the Bobcats and the NEC in scoring. His goal for the team is to win the conference.

In the NEC preseason coaches’ poll, the Bobcats were picked to finish sixth in the 10 team conference. Last season, the team finished with a 5-11-1 record overall and was 3-6 in league play. That was a substantial improvement over the 2002 season, when the Bobcats did not win a game until the final contest of the season.

The Bobcats have three of their top scorers from last season’s team back this year, including sophomore forward Francis Mavula, of Ottawa, Ont., who led the team in points last season with 14. He also finished first in game-winning goals and assists, while tying for the team lead in goals with five.

Of the team’s 25 players, 13 are either a junior or senior and nine are freshmen.

Quinnipiac plays three more games, including two at home, before opening their NEC schedule on Oct. 1 at home versus Sacred Heart.