Men’s soccer falls short of NEC playoffs

Brian Stevenson

The Quinnipiac University men’s soccer team ended the season over the weekend with a pair of losses on the road to Sacred Heart and Fairleigh Dickinson.

The loss dropped Quinnipiac’s final record to 6-11-1 overall. At 3-5-1 in the Northeast Conference, the Bobcats finished in a tie for seventh place. The top four teams in the NEC qualify for the NEC tournament.

On Friday, two first half goals propelled the Sacred Heart Pioneers to a 3-0 victory, despite being outshot 14-10 for the game.

“We didn’t quite bring our ‘A’ game, but we played relatively well,” head coach Eric Da Costa said. “We fell behind early, which took a lot of wind out of our sails.”

Sacred Heart took the lead in the 11th minute on a goal by Luke Gagliardi. Glenn Wilken sent a crossing pass through the 18-yard box that Gagliardi snuck past Bobcat goalkeeper Kenneth Lewis.

With eight minutes remaining in the first half, Pioneers forward Brice Victor was tripped up inside the box by Quinnipiac defender Ryan Smith, which resulted in a penalty kick. Nick Loyd’s penalty shot found the back of the net and put Sacred Heart ahead 2-0.

“Sacred Heart bunkered down on defense really well. We controlled most of the possession, but were never really a threat offensively. They just took advantage of their chances,” Da Costa said.

Less than a minute into the second half, Gustavo Netto scored on Wilken’s second assist of the game. Netto received the pass and deposited the ball into the left side of the net for a 3-0 lead.

The win clinched a berth in the NEC tournament for the Pioneers.

In the regular season finale, the Bobcats were defeated by Fairleigh Dickinson 2-1.

After a scoreless first half in which the Knights outshot the Bobcats 8-4, FDU scored 13 minutes into the second half. Alejandro Beyoda slipped a shot past Lewis off a feed from Pino Tubito.

In the 87th minute, Tubito scored a controversial goal to put the game out of reach off an assist from Mirza Rusevic.

“The linesman had up his flag to call offside and the referee decided to ignore him. In my opinion it was the wrong call and might’ve changed the outcome of the game,” Da Costa said.

Following the goal the Bobcats turned up the pressure on the FDU defense. Following two shots off the post, Matthew Cifelli put Quinnipiac on the board with one minute left in the game.

“I thought our guys showed real class in how they handled the questionable call. We responded with our play and let that do the talking by putting one in the goal,” Da Costa said.

After FDU’s goalkeeper Elvir Prasovic stopped a shot by Graciano Brito, Cifelli followed up the rebound to make the score 2-1. Brito was credited with the assist on the goal.

Lewis finished the game with eight saves as FDU outshot the Bobcats 17-10 and held an overwhelming 13-1 advantage in corner kicks.

In his first year as coach, Da Costa was relatively pleased with the team’s play.

“I like to gauge success on wins and losses, and in that sense I think we underachieved. But every player is very committed to the program and showed effort and pride all season long. This season should be a great building block for the future,” Da Costa said.