Brito is Captain Clutch

Brian Stevenson

Whenever the men’s soccer team needs a goal, it seems Graciano Brito rises to the occasion. After 105 minutes of scoreless play, Brito converted a penalty kick to give the Bobcat’s a 1-0 victory over in-state rival and NEC foe Central Connecticut State University Sunday afternoon in New Britain.

With the win, the Bobcats keep pace with No. 1 ranked Wake Forest as the only two unbeaten teams in the country.

Midway through the second overtime, midfielder Ross McGibney was taken down inside the penalty area. Brito stepped up to penalty stripe and buried a shot for his twelfth goal of the year, which leads all Division I players.

“Ross did a good job of beating a few defenders to get close to goal and earn the penalty kick,” Head Coach Eric Da Costa said. “We were confident that if Graci got a chance he’d bury it.”

Both teams had chances throughout regulation, with each team bouncing a shot off the crossbar. Quinnipiac goalie Frederick Hall had six saves to preserve the win and earn his fifth shutout of the season.

In last year’s match-up, the Blue Devils beat up the Bobcats 4-1 in a physical game. As has been a theme this year, the Bobcats did not worry about the past.

“We didn’t even talk about last year. In our eyes last year is a dead season, we learned some things from it and now we focus on each opponent in front of us,” Da Costa said.

Sunday’s game was possibly even more physical than last year. Six yellow cards were given out and a total of 39 fouls were called. Da Costa was impressed with how his team kept their composure despite the circumstances.

“It definitely got chippy towards the end,” he said. “We did a great job of staying calm and just playing our game. I’m real proud of the fact we stayed level-headed.”

The Bobcats have not played a home game in the month of October and Da Costa’s team is looking forward to returning home with their unbeaten record in tact.

“We’ve appreciated the support from the student body and the recognition we received at Midnight Madness really meant a lot,” he said. “We would love to have that home field advantage this weekend that other teams have when we are on the road.”

The Bobcats, who are 3-0 in Northeast Conference action thus far, will take a pair of NEC foes this weekend. Robert Morris visits Bobcat Field Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and St. Francis (P.A.) will come to Hamden Sunday at noon.