After great season, men’s soccer falls short

Jason Levy

With only 45 minutes left in their season trailing 2-1 at the half against Central Connecticut State, the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team knew they would need everything in order to pull out a victory and advance to the NEC Tournament.

Team member Francis Mavula said that “we knew we needed only one goal to get back in the game. Once we got that goal, we knew we could win.” He came through for his team, scoring two goals in 2:13 in the second half to propel the Bobcats to a 3-2 win over the Blue Devils, and a birth into the NEC tournament where they will meet number 1 seed Farleigh Dickinson on Friday, Nov. 12. Jadir Barbosa notched his team high seventh goal of the season in the first half and added an assist and Dominic Popolozio contributed two assists. It was the eighth win of the season for the Bobcats,and their fifth in conference. And even though the team fell in the NEC Tournament to number 1 seed and host team FDU, the win was a cornerstone win for the Bobcats program.

Head coach Sam Carrington has brought his team from only having won one game two years ago to a team with strong goaltending from Conor Shilcock-Elliot and timely goal scoring. Carrington said that regardless of what happened against CCSU, he was proud of his team.

“My first year here, we won only one game, so this has been a big improvement,” he said. “This program is being built for the long run, and we’ve made great strides to get better. This win would make us 8-8, a .500 record even if we missed the playoffs. So I’m very proud of these guys.”

Entering last weekend, the Bobcats’ fate was out of their hands. St. Francis (NY) and St. Francis (PA) both had better records than Quinnipiac and each beat Quinnipiac earlier in the season. First up on Friday was SF-PA, who defeated Sacred Heart, a team with only one win all season, to clinch a spot in the NEC Tournament, and pinning the Bobcats’ hopes on Long Island University defeating SF-NY in order to stay alive. Luckily for Quinnipiac, LIU did them a favor and knocked off SF-NY 1-0, making Sunday’s closing game an important one. With their fate back in their own hands, the Bobcats responded with a win and a birth in the NEC Tournament.

Part of the reason for Quinnipiac’s success this season has been due to first year player Jadir Barbosa. The native Brazilian led the team with seven goals, much like his favorite soccer player Ronaldo would. Barbosa says that this year has been an adjustment for him, living and playing in the United States.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “The language is different, the soccer is different. But I have good teammates, good friends, a good coach, and this has been a great place for me to develop.” He added that you can expect more from him next year. “This is only my first semester, so I’m still picking up the American style. I haven’t even begun to play my best. I can do a lot more.”

Despite not winning it all, this season was a leap in the right direction for the Bobcats. Next years team will feature a solid core of players including Barbosa, Mavula, Lassana Camara, Hobson Bradford, Abel James, Cory Shilcok-Elliott and his brother Conor in goal, and new freshmen who can step in, and with Coach Carrington on the sidelines, 2005 should be a banner year for the Bobcats.