A pair of goals by junior Francis Mavula led the Quinnipiac University men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) in an NEC home contest on Monday.
Mavula found the back of the net midway through the first half on an unassisted goal to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
The Red Flash tied the game 1-1 with minutes remaining in the half. Luke Bellows scored the goal, his first of the season, off an assist from Jonathan Guse.
Less than ten minutes into the half, Mavula scored the game-winner, his fifth of the season, on a feed from Anthony Patierno.
Coach Eric Da Costa was extremely impressed with his team’s effort in the key NEC match.
“St. Francis was one of the top teams in the preseason and we knew we needed a good result. The guys had that look in their eyes in the locker room, they had that winning attitude,” Da Costa said.
The Bobcats were in action again the next day and played to a scoreless tie against Robert Morris University.
First half action was controlled by the Colonials, but stellar play by Bobcats’ goalkeeper Kenneth Lewis kept the game scoreless. Both teams had significant pressure on the opposing defense but were unable to score.
In the second half, the action picked up and both keepers were tested often. Lewis was forced to make several one-on-one saves inside the 18-yard box. The Bobcats, led by Graciano Brito, battered the Robert Morris goal with shots throughout the last 45 minutes.
With five minutes remaining, Robert Morris took a throw in and headed the ball towards goal. Lewis dove and tipped the ball over the crossbar to keep the game deadlocked at zero.
Quinnipiac controlled both overtimes, which Da Costa attributes to their preseason training, but the game ended in a scoreless tie.
“Both teams were playing back-to-back games, which is really tough,” Da Costa said. “They outplayed us in the first half, but we controlled the pace in the second half and overtime. That is a real example of our fitness.”
Defender Aldin Beslagic left the game early in the second half after colliding with Lewis just inside the 18-yard box. He suffered a mild concussion and was reevaluated before the game over the weekend. Da Costa is encouraged by his progress and believes he will be back at full strength soon.
“He lost a bit of balance and concentration. We are being very careful and going through every precautionary measure to make sure he’s at full strength soon,” Da Costa said.
The Bobcats played a pair of games on the road over the weekend. Freshman Graciano Brito scored Quinnipiac’s lone goal in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Mount St. Mary’s. Monmouth edged the Bobcats 1-0 on Sunday.
Quinnipiac (5-8-1 overall, 2-2-1 in NEC) hosts St. Francis (N.Y.) on Friday and LIU on Sunday.