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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Hugs all around: Quinnipiac men’s soccer draws even with URI, visiting Rams receive red card for hugging

Peyton McKenzie
Seven cards were handed out to both Quinnipiac and Rhode Island, including a red card to URI after the referee was hugged.

For only the first time since 2015 — and the fifth time this century — the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team faced off against the Rhode Island Rams Thursday afternoon. The unfamiliarity between both sides continued, as the Bobcats were not able to end a winless streak to the Rams, tying their season opener 0-0.

“It’s early in the season and we’re still trying to integrate some new guys,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “(We’re trying to) play our way and stay committed to our style and I thought for stretches we did that. Hopefully it’s something we learn from.”

The star of the show for either team was Bobcats sophomore goalkeeper Karl Netzell, who stopped six shots on net and all six Rams corner kicks for his seventh-career shutout.

“As a goalkeeper, you have to learn to drop stuff,” Netzell said. “If you make a mistake, you gotta leave it where it was and just move on.”

The Rams had a chance to crack the scoreboard first. A foul from Quinnipiac senior defender Terrance Wilder Jr. gave Rhode Island a penalty kick in the 25th minute. With a shot from the dot, Rams senior forward Rafa Villanueva beat Netzell, but couldn’t beat the crossbar. 

Just 16 minutes later, a red card was issued on Rhode Island for … hugging?

Following an on-field collision between Bobcats graduate student forward Jason Budhai and Rams junior goalkeeper Edu Rodriguez, the referee handed Rodriguez a red card and immediate ejection as the netminder gave the ref an embrace on the turf.

The official red card was later clarified as a “denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity,” which led to a Bobcats free kick in front of the net. Nothing came from the man-advantage in the minutes that followed, so both sides went into the locker rooms even and scoreless at halftime. 

“I think that might have gotten into our heads a bit,” Netzell said. “I don’t think the structure was really there. I definitely think it’s something to work on in the future.”

The final 45 minutes were less about embracing and more about physicality. Quinnipiac fouls on junior midfielder Noe Cabezas and Wilder Jr. were just part of a second half that saw multiple yellow cards handed out and a number of players on the turf after tough tackles.

“I thought they handled themselves well,” Da Costa said. “It’s great that we have players that can step in and compete.”

Later, on what appeared to be the game’s first goal, Rhode Island sophomore forward Mathias Taylor directed the ball towards the net and his teammates on the sideline erupted. Instead, the officiating crew disagreed and play went on, despite the protests from the Rams’ faithful.

“Not gonna lie, I think it was in,” Netzell said. “But it’s up to the refs, and I think it was out (of bounds) before, so maybe two wrongs make a right.”

Both sides exchanged offensive chances as the game dwindled down, but neither Netzell nor Rams redshirt junior goalkeeper Nate DiLereto (who replaced Rodriguez in the first half) budged, ending the match in a scoreless draw. 

“Every team is competitive and every team is gonna give us their best,” Da Costa said. “We just wanna learn from some mistakes we made today. We wanna continue to do the good things we did today and continue to get better and continue to improve, grow as a group. If we do that, I think we’re in a good position.”

With a No. 1 ranking in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and now game No. 1 under their belt, the Bobcats will look to continue their current home stretch with a Monday bout against Boston College. First kick against the Eagles is set for 4 p.m.

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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