What seemed like a dream season for the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team came to a difficult end Saturday afternoon when the Bobcats suffered a hard-fought 1-0 defeat in overtime to Iona (8-9-2) on senior day at Bobcat Field. The Bobcats finished their season at 9-3-5 while going 3-2-4 in the Northeast Conference.
Prior to the game, seniors Hobson Bradford, Ben Forst, Truong Nguyen, Danilo Schiavon and Chris Sinclair were honored as was junior standout Graciano Brito, who still has one year of eligibility left.
“What they’ve brought to this program is going to be difficult to replace. They are a classy group of individuals and they’ve brought leadership, they’ve brought class, and they just brought a great attitude. The dedication and commitment that they had for the program is second to none,” said Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa of the seniors.
Both teams found themselves with great scoring opportunities throughout a scoreless regulation. Iona eventually scored the game-winner two minutes and nine seconds into overtime.
Sophomore forward Tonna Egbuchanum delivered a pass to classmate Fernando Liserra, who found himself uncovered about 15 yards out from the goal. Liserra drilled a a shot passed a surprised Frederick Hall in net and found the lower right-hand corner to give the Gaels the victory.
Hall kept the Bobcats in the game throughout contest, making numerous fine saves on great scoring chances for Iona. Hall finished the game with six saves.
Quinnipiac dominated the ball possession early on in the game, but it would be Iona who had the first real scoring opportunity in the 19th minute. A free kick from just outside the 18-yard box was drilled just wide of a diving Hall.
A few minutes later, Quinnipiac had its best scoring opportunity of the half when senior forward Danilo Schiavon stole the ball from a Gael defender and came in on net, but his shot went just wide. In the 32nd minute, Iona found themselves with another tremendous scoring opportunity. A cross from the right wing found Mario Rios right in front of the net in between two defenders, but Rios ripped his volley over the net.
The Gaels came out firing in the second half and worked for numerous scoring chances in the first 15 minutes, but could not convert. Hall was up to the task and tallied numerous saves early in the half.
Quinnipiac had a number of chances throughout the game also, but they could not get a shot on the goal frame. The Bobcats were unable to register a single shot on goal. All of their chances were either shot wide of the goal or drilled over the goal. Star forward Graciano Brito was held in check throughout the game, as Iona keyed on him defensively.
While the ending to the season may seem like a disappointing one, Schiavon would not overlook the team’s accomplishments this season. “I think the best two accomplishments we had were getting the 9-0-1 and also the BC win, which was really good for the program and gave us a lot more confidence,” he said.
With the seniors graduating, the focus for the team is now the future. “The future is
bright, you know, we did a lot of work this year in terms of building a foundation for the future success of this program and we’re excited about it,” Da Costa said.