Celaj's Game Winner Gives Resurgent Pioneers Second Straight Win

Celaj's Game Winner Gives Resurgent Pioneers Second Straight Win

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—The Sacred Heart men's soccer team picked up its second straight win in overtime with a 2-1 victory over Saint Joseph's at Park Avenue Field on Tuesday. Senior Ermir Celaj buried the game winning goal for the Pioneers (2-4) off the lead pass from freshman Alejandro Arribas in the 93rd minute.

SHU controlled the pace of playing the first half with its attack outshooting the Hawks (2-2-2) 10-3. Saint Joseph's caught a break in the 27th minute as the Pioneers failed to clear a corner kick attempt. Aidan Watkins played the bounce off the clear attempt and booted one past sophomore Robert Strain for the 1-0 score. 

The Hawks defense contested the Pioneer offense for much of the second half. With minutes ticking away in regulation, Arribas was in the right spot at the right time as he fired the loose ball off the blocked shot from six yards out. The rookie's first career strike tied things up at 1-1 in the 89th minute.

With the momentum still favoring the Pioneers, Arribas broke free from the Hawks defense and found Celaj open at the left side the box for the open score and the 2-1 win. Celaj has tallied goals in back-to-back games for Sacred Heart.

SHU outshot its opponent for the second straight game, besting the Hawks 18-8 on the afternoon. Greg O'Connell recorded seven saves for Saint Joseph's while Strain recorded three stops for SHU. 

The Pioneers look to continue strong play at Park Ave. Field on Saturday, September 16 with a non-conference game against Siena at 3:00 p.m. 

First Half

  • Sophomore Oscar Curras had an open look at goal just outside the box at 8:28 but was denied by O'Connell.
  • Arribas' shot at 15:18 was gloved away by the diving stop from O'Connell as the SHU attack was surging.
  • Strain made a stop on the header chance by Eddie McCusker on the last scoring chance of the half.

Seocnd half

  • Siyadhuba had another spectacular cross into the box at 51:29 but E. Celaj just missed the goal on his diving effort.
  • Curras had back-to-back shots blocked by the Hawks defense in the 83rd minute.
  • Arribas with the tying goals as the Pioneers scored late in the second straight game.

Overtime 

  • Arribas capped a multi-point afternoon with the terrific lead pass to Celaj who buried the game winner for his second straight game with a goal.
Pioneers Fall to CCSU, 1-0
October 15, 2017 Pioneers Fall to CCSU, 1-0