What a difference a year makes. After going 1-12-4 last season, the men’s soccer team is 4-0 and off to its best start in school history after defeating Army and Marist at the Army Fall Classic at West Point, N.Y. last weekend.
Over the course of 17 games in 2006, the Bobcats were dismal offensively, scoring just 11 goals. In four games in 2007, they have already netted ten goals, including three in each of last weekend’s matches. Head coach Eric Da Costa isn’t surprised and credits his entire team for the offensive barrage they’ve been using on opponents.
“Our success early on has been a complete team effort. It starts with our keeper and goes all the way through the defense and midfield to the forwards,” Da Costa said. “The forwards can play with a lot of confidence because our backline is playing great.”
While it has been a team effort that has gotten the Bobcats off to an undefeated start, it took an extraordinary performance from junior captain Graciano Brito to push the Bobcats record to 3-0 on Friday against Army.
Brito recorded a hat trick in the Bobcats 3-2 overtime win. He scored two unassisted goals in the first half, each giving the Bobcats a one goal cushion. After the Knights tied the game at two, Brito used a great individual effort to score his third unassisted goal of the game. Da Costa praised Brito for his effort on the field, but has been just as impressed with his performance off of it.
“Graci has really stepped into a leadership role and is earning that captain armband. He is the same unselfish player he was last year, but now we’ve got people stepping up around him. While he was happy to get that hat trick, he would’ve been just as happy if three other people scored those goals, as long as the team wins,” Da Costa said of Brito.
The depth that Da Costa believes makes his team dangerous was evident again Sunday afternoon, when three different players scored to give the Bobcats a 3-1 win over Marist.
Nick Pelicaen scored his second goal of the year off a rebound to give the Bobcats a lead 20 minutes into the first half. Danilo Schiavon tallied his second goal of the year just seven minutes later for a two goal lead.
Following a Red Fox goal that cut the Bobcat lead in half, Ross McGibney fed Brito, who put his fifth goal of the year between the pipes to make the score 3-1.
Sophomore goalie Frederick Hall returned to the net after missing Friday’s game. Hall was playing for Bermuda in a national team tournament in Cuba.
Brito and McGibney were named to the all-tournament team, as were Hobson Bradford and Shane Recklet for their stellar defensive efforts during the weekend.
While his team is excited, Da Costa also knows they will keep things in perspective.
“We are a motivated and focused team. Yeah it’s great to be off to the best start in school history and that’s never been done, but we’ve got bigger things in mind,” he said. “No Quinnipiac squad has ever won the NEC tournament and made it to the NCAA’s, and that is what we want to do.”
The Bobcats will play an Alumni Game Saturday at 2 p.m., and will take on Canisius and Siena the following weekend prior to conference play.