September 6, 2011

Men's Soccer Looks to Bounce Back on the Road This Week

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at Columbia, the Sacred Heart University men's soccer team aims to right the ship with a pair of road games this week.  The Pioneers kick-off tonight at Holy Cross at 7:00 pm, followed by a 1:00 pm game at Providence, Saturday afternoon.

About the Pioneers... Through two games SHU is 1-1 and outscored its opponents 3-2.  The Pioneers opened with a 2-0 victory at Campus Field last week before running into Columbia, Sunday afternoon.  Three different players have scored for Sacred Heart.  Junior forward Justin Brewer (Somers, Conn./Somers) leads the team with three points after recording the game-winning goal and an assist in the win over the Peacocks.  Senior goalkeeper Alex Fait (Ottawa, Ont.) has made nine saves for a .818 save percentage and holds a 0.99 goals against average.

Last Time Out... Columbia mid David Najem took a shot from 25 yards out that deflected to teammate Will Stamatis who buried a shot far post to hand Sacred Heart a 2-1 loss just 1:11 into the first overtime.  Earlier in the game, the Pioneers erased a one-goal deficit when junior forward Brian Francolini (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) flicked the ball around his defender and put it in the back of the net.  Francolini's goal came at the 47:21 mark and was the first shot of the game for SHU.  Sophomore defender Omer Levy (Yahud, Israel) picked up an assist on the play.

Scouting the Crusaders... Holy Cross is 0-1-1 on the season after most recently playing to a scoreless tie against Dartmouth at home.  The Crusader offense has yet to generate a goal, they were shutout in the opener against Boston 2-0, so far this season.  In net, freshman Michael Thompson owns a .778 save percentage a 0.90 GAA.  Last season Holy Cross went 3-10-5 overall and 0-4-3 in the Patriot League.  The team's top returning scorer is sophomore forward Kevin O'Connell who totaled eight points on three goals and two assists.

Last Time vs. HC... Last season the two teams met in the season opener at Campus Field with Sacred Heart taking a 1-0 decision off a header goal by denfeseman Marcello Castro (Parana, Brazil).  Castro's goal was set up by a free kick from the left side that was flicked on by Brewer, who was credited with an assist on the play.  Fait needed just one save to complete his first of five shutouts for the season, while Evan Polanik stopped five shots for the Crusaders.

Scouting the Friars... After dropping its season opener, 2-1, at home against Northeastern, Providence enters the week riding a three-game win streak at 3-1 overall.  Last week the Friars beat #11 Brown 1-0 and Rhode Island 1-0 in OT.  Red-shirt sophomore Wilber Arboleda leads the team with two goals scored.  Between the pipes, senior Jhojan Obando sports a 0.74 GAA and .833 save percentage after racking up 15 saves and two shutouts, while playing every minute so far this season.

Last Time vs. PC... Heading into last season's contest against Providence, Sacred Heart was 4-0, ranked second in the NSCAA North Atlantic Region, and had received votes in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com National Poll for the first time in program history.  The Friars welcomed the Pioneers to Providence a took a 3-1 decision bethind a pair of goals by Arboleda.  PC led 2-0 early in the second half before Mario Millili netted a goal to bring SHU within one.

Up Next... Sacred Heart stays on the road for its fourth straight game away from Campus Field when it visits Stony Brook for a 7:00 pm tilt on September 15.  After an eight-day layoff, the Pioneers return home for back-to-back games against NJIT and Hartford, September 24 and 27.