Oct. 23, 2007
The Set-Up... The Pioneer men's soccer team opens a crucial road trip through Brooklyn as the NEC playoff race reaches the final stretch. Friday night the Pioneers visit St. Francis (NY) at 7:00 pm. The weekend closes with a visit to LIU Sunday at 1:00 pm.
Pioneers Split Homestand... The Pioneers went 1-1 on a weekend homestand, beating Mount St. Mary's Friday, 2-0, and falling to Monomouth 1-0 on Sunday. Friday's game featured a torrential downpour which led to a 20 minute delay when the field became unplayable. Junior Jason Tessitore and senior Ricarti Mendes scored the Pioneer goals. Junior Matt Jones made six saves Sunday to earn his sixth shutout of the season.
Last time vs St. Francis... St. Francis' Atiba Fraser scored the only goal the Terriers would need, finding the back of the net in the 52nd minute to give his team their first win of 2006 and hand Sacred Heart a 1-0 loss last year at Campus Field.
Scouting the Terriers... St. Francis starts the weekend 1-4 in the league and 3-8-3 overall, having lost three straight games after beating Robert Morris for their only league win. The Terriers lost to LIU, 7-3, Saturday in their last game. St. Francis has a powerful offense led bye John Sallhag who is third in the league with nine goals, four assists, and 22 points. Javier Gonzalez is second on the team with three goals. Goaltender Chris Antonio starts the week with a 1.70 goals against average.
Last Time vs Long Island... Sacred Heart got goals from Jason Tessitore and freshman Svetozar Gladic en route to a 2-0 win over Long Island Friday afternoon in the Northeast Conference opener at Campus Field last year.
Scouting the Blackbirds... Long Island starts the stretch run in fifth place, just two points behind Sacred Heart for the final playoff spot. The Blackbirds are 2-2-1 in league play and 4-6-2 overall, having beaten St. Francis (NY), 7-3 Saturday night. In that game Jukka Lehto and Ryan Williams each had hattricks for LIU. Lehto and Williams each have four goals on the year. Peter Huijen and Josh Merchant have each scored three goals. Goaltender Alex Flatovic has posted a 1.48 goals against average on the season.
Trifecta Up Front... The Pioneers chances for another run to the playoffs are bolstered by a strong core of returning players on both sides of the ball. Up front, junior Jason Tessitore returns to lead the attack that he has been the focus of the last two years. Tessitiore was an All-Northeast Conference selection as a freshman. In addition to Tessitore, the Pioneers also welcome back another big name up front in the 6-4, 215 pound Jesper Fredriksson. Fredriksson burst on the scene last year as led the team in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points. He already has a three goals this year. The final member of the trio is senior Ricarti Mendes who has three goals and three assists on the year, including the game winner against Central Connecticut.
Goalie From Across the Pond... Just as vital to the Pioneer success is their defense, led by junior goalkeeper Matthew Jones Jones. This year he has a 0.74 goals against average, third best in the league, and a league leading six shutouts to his credit already. Jones has now allowed just six goals in his last 11 games, going 6-4-1 with four shutouts in that span. Jones had an outstanding freshman year, earning second team All-NEC honors as well as a nod to the NSCAA All-New England Men's Soccer Second Team. Although he didn't win any awards, Jones had a solid sophomore year as well. He turned in a 1.43 goals against average with a .726 save percentage. Jones posted seven wins, three of which were shutouts.
Up Next... The Pioneers visit Army Tuesday night in their final non-conference game of the season. SHU closes out the regular season Saturday at home against FDU on Senior Day. Game time is 2:00 pm.