Quinnipiac men’s soccer escapes with 1-1 tie against Iona after last second miracle

Milton Woolfenden, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – The Bobcat faithful had to wait until the very last minute of the game Saturday afternoon, but the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team was able to avoid the loss, settling for a 1-1 tie vs MAAC rival Iona.

From the opening kickoff, both teams started slow, mainly passing the ball and trying to feel the other team out.

The game turned into a stalemate, with neither team having much time in the offensive half.

In the 22nd minute, after a series of what the Gaels saw as bad calls, the referee stopped play, and while he reached for his yellow card, he decided to only issue the Iona bench a warning.

Two minutes later, after an aggressive slide tackle made just outside the 18-yard line on senior forward Brage Aasen, Gaels sophomore midfielder Ricardo Senen Pinillos received a yellow card.

The Bobcats’ defense made getting balls near the net nearly impossible, with freshman goaltender Karl Netzell not needing to make his first save of the game until the 32nd minute.

“Iona presents different problems … I thought we limited them to not many open opportunities,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said.

In the 36th minute, junior defenseman Luke Allen was issued a yellow card for a slide tackle on Gaels junior forward Aly Camara.

This was the first sign of discontent with the officiating from Da Costa and the Quinnipiac bench.

“Every game will have its moments, but compared to other games we’ve had this season, I thought the officiating was relatively consistent,” Da Costa said. 

As a result of the yellow card, Iona earned a free kick, and Camara took advantage, putting the ball in the top-left corner of the net. With the mess of bodies in front of the goal, Netzell didn’t see the ball until it was already past him. 

Just to make sure the Bobcat fans remembered him, Camara celebrated by doing a cartwheel into a backflip.

Moments after the ensuing kickoff, Allen went down awkwardly after jumping for the ball around midfield. He would walk off the field under his own power, but gingerly, not putting much weight on his right leg. He would not return to the game.

Coming out of the locker room, in the 47th minute, Gaels sophomore midfielder Tim Timchenko earned a yellow card following a slide tackle on Bobcats graduate student midfielder Noah Silverman.

In the 67th minute, the Bobcats had their best scoring chance of the game. Off a pass from Bercedo, senior forward Tomas Svecula fired a shot off, trying to slip it into the bottom left corner. However, much to the dismay of the home fans, Iona sophomore goaltender Juan Alfaro Monge would get just enough of the ball to knock it out of bounds. 

After Svecula’s near-miss, momentum seemed to be turning in the Bobcats’ favor.

“We felt like we were gaining the upper hand and I feel like it gave us the extra boost of energy we needed to finish out the game,” Quinnipiac junior defenseman Jared Smith said.

In the 76th minute with a wide-open net, Aasen missed every inch of it, having his shot sail over the top of the goal. This was Aasen’s first home game in over a month after being injured in the team’s game at Northeastern on Sept. 6.

“Even being not fully fit, maybe 60 or 70% in terms of fitness he still had a big impact on the game,” Da Costa said.

Bobcats senior midfielder Jason Budhai would be issued a yellow card after arguing with the referee over which team should have possession of the ball. 

In the 87th minute, while shoving for positioning before a Bobcats free kick, Budhai would be issued his second yellow card, with Gaels junior defender Elird Mero earning a yellow as well.

Then, with only 43 seconds left on the clock, off a corner kick, Smith buried a header in the top-right corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

The Bobcats’ bench erupted, swarming Smith in the near corner. However, the Bobcats went a little overboard with their celebration, as Smith was issued a red card, and the bench a yellow card.

“As long as there’s time left on that clock we’re going to keep fighting,” Smith said.

The Bobcats would hold on for the next 43 seconds, with the game ending in a 1-1 tie.

Quinnipiac will be back in action on Wednesday at Manhattan and its next home game is Saturday, Oct. 22 vs Saint Peter’s.