Quinnipiac men’s soccer is poised for playoff run with mix of depth and old faces

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

In the COVID shortened season in the spring of 2021, the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team made it to the MAAC championship, where they played Monmouth. The final? 1-0, in favor of the Hawks. Ever since that loss, it hasn’t been the same, going 9-8 the next season. 

This season, the team hopes to return to playoff contention and possibly compete for a conference championship. 

One of the few things that remain from both those teams is the front three of senior forwards Brage Aasen, David Bercedo and Tomáš Svečula, who were responsible for 17 of the Bobcats’ 27 goals last season. Aasen led the team in goals with 11 and was named First Team All-MAAC for his efforts. 

The chemistry of the forwards has been incredible to watch and has helped foster a phenomenal team culture.

“Right now, the environment is perfect. With this, we can get everything to be honest,” Bercedo said after a 3-0 win against Hartford on Saturday. 

The Spaniard played the third most minutes on the team last fall, while also leading the team with six assists. Bercedo will wear No. 10 this year and the captain’s armband, drawing striking similarities to former Quinnipiac midfielder Paolo Soares. Soares provided tremendous leadership to the Bobcats during his tenure, and Bercedo takes on his responsibility to lead this Quinnipiac team. 

The team tends to run a 4-3-3 formation, with the left and right backs drifting in and out of the midfield, looking for runs from the forwards and executing passes towards the net.

The midfield is where things aren’t as stable for the Bobcats. Losing Soares and midfielder Dejan Duric leaves a hole that the Bobcats are trying to fix.

Graduate student midfielders Noah Silverman and Alex Holle, along with senior midfielder Domen Bozic, will help plug in those holes. Off the bench, look to see junior midfielder Terrance Wilder Jr. and senior midfielder Andrew Sullivan come in to bolster the middle.

In the back, the defense and goaltending are more stable than the midfield. 

Junior defenders Jared Smith and Luke Allen have been anchors starting in the back line. Smith embodies the term “playmaker.” Turnovers have bit

him before, but his vision and accuracy on his passes help the team tremendously on defense and primarily in the midfield.

Freshman defenders Alexander Stjernegaard, João Pinto and Luke Schierenbeck are seeing lots of minutes in the back, and have been holding their own. In net, head coach Eric Da Costa has been going with sophomore goaltender Matthew Pisani, but he has also rotated freshman goaltender Karl Netzell into the mix.

Quinnipiac has a lot of depth. They can mix and match the lineups to find the most optimal combination, and use the plethora of talent on the bench often.

For example, the Bobcats’ second-leading scorer last year, sophomore forward Sam McCann, is not starting. Neither is senior midfielder/forward Jason Budhai or senior defenseman Magnus Reistad. Da Costa has the liberty to start or bench them, but while on the bench, he can have full confidence in them filling in for the starters. 

“From a coach’s perspective, it’s massive to know that you have a security blanket,” Da Costa said. “If you can lose a player or you need to make a change, then you have some people of quality that can do the job.”

Quinnipiac sits at 2-1 on the year so far, but it has yet to begin conference play, which kicks off Sept. 28 against Siena. With Monmouth out of the conference, the team’s biggest challenges are now Rider, Iona and Saint Peter’s. The Bobcats went below .500 against all of these teams in the past 10 years.

A team with this much talent up front and consistency in the back, in the net and occasionally in the middle could compete in the MAAC playoffs and potentially chase down an elusive MAAC championship. Sloppiness, inaccuracy and an unreliable midfield are some of the only things that may halt its chances to do so.