FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Sacred Heart University men's soccer team hits the road for a pair of short trips to in-state rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut this weekend. The action gets underway with a 3:00 pm contest at QU Friday afternoon, followed by a 12:00 pm tilt at CCSU.
About the Pioneers... Sacred Heart stands at 9-3-1 overall and atop the Northeast Conference with a 4-1-1 record. The Pioneers dropped from second to third in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com North Atlantic Region following a 1-1 weekend at home. The team has already passed last season's win total and equaled the number of win they had in conference play in 2009. SHU struggled to put the ball in the back of the net a year ago, but this season the Pioneers have scored 20 goals in 13 games. Sophomore defender Marcello Castro (Parana, Brazil) leads Sacred Heart with four scores and an assist, but the team has seen a balanced attack which features 11 different goal scorers on the season. In the nine wins, seven different players have netted the game winning score. Sophomore Brian Francolini (Ellington, Conn.) is second on the team in scoring with eight points on three goals, all game winners, and two assists. Junior Alex Fait (Ottawa, Ont.) holds a 1.02 goals against average and a .741 save percentage, while playing every minute in net for the Pioneers.
Scouting the Bobcats... Quinnipiac enters the weekend 2-8-1 and 1-3-0 in the NEC. The Bobcats were victorious, 3-0 over NJIT, the last time they took the field. Senior Dwayne Mars has scored a team-high four goals, while junior Matthew Rothbart has contributed three score. Sophomores Josh Lavallee and George Ellis have split time in goal and combined for 47 saves on the year.
Last Time vs. QU... Pierre Soubrier scored on a penalty kick in the 76th minute to give the Bobcats a 1-0 win on a very cold and rainy afternoon at Campus Field. Quinnipiac goalkeeper Frederick Hall made seven saves to preserve the shutout.
Scouting the Blue Devils... Central is 3-7-2 overall and 0-3-2 in league play entering the weekend. On Thursday, the Blue Devils host Fairleigh Dickinson for a 7:00 pm contest. Currently, CCSU is led in scoring by sophomore Terrell Whitting's three goals and two assists. Equaling his eight points is senior Robert Cavener who has tallied two scores and picked up four assists. Between the pipes, sophomore Anthony Occhialini has started all 12 games and holds a 1.19 GAA and .729 save percentage.
Last Time vs. CCSU... Patrick Daka (Chingola, Zambia) and Norman Baer scored in a 2-0 win for the Pioneers, over Central, on Campus Field last October. At the time, the win improved Sacred Heart's NEC record to 3-1-1 and was the first time all season that the Pioneers outshot an opponent. The win was Fait's sixth shutout of the season as he made three saves to keep the Blue Devils off the board.