TEANECK, N.J.— The Sacred Heart men's soccer team clinched their first Northeast Conference Tournament berth since 2011 with a 2-0 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon. Senior forward Shaquille Saunchez stepped up with both Pioneers' (5-10-2, 3-4 NEC) goals on the day.
The Knights (3-11-3, 1-2-4 NEC) held the shots advantage 19-16 overall, but the two first half strikes by Saunchez proved to be the difference. His first tally came in the 35th minute as he received a long ball just passed midfield and dribbled past FDU goalkeeper Julian Murillo Toro for the score and 1-0 lead. Saunchez struck again in the 43rd minute as he got a lead pass from junior Dylan Santos to the right side of the box and put it in the opposite corner of the net for the 2-0 lead. Saunchez now has eight goals on the season. Freshman goalkeeper Robert Strain was able to keep the Knights out of the net in the second half with three big saves. Strain picked up his second shutout of his career.
The Pioneers will play host St. Francis Brooklyn at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Friday November 11 in the first NEC Tournament, game time to be determined.
- Ermir Celaj had his long shot from 20 yards out miss just high in the 17th minute.
- Strain got a big stop charging a wide open shot attempt by Jamie Leddy in the 20th minute.
- Saunchez got the long ball, dribbled past Toro for the easy score and 1-0 SHU lead.
- Saunchez struck again to give SHU the 2-0 lead. He played a lead pass from Santos to the opposite corner for his eighth goal of the season.
- Strain made a great diving save on a shot by Daniel Lasarte in the 51st minute.
- Lasarte nearly answered four minutes later but his shot hit off the post.
- Toro made two big stops on a header by Celaj and a laser by Ezra Siyadhuba in the 74th minute.
- Saunchez nearly got the hat trick but his open shot from right side missed just left of the goal in the 86th minute.