Today: Jul 14, 2024

Losing streak stretches to three after another home loss

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Senior forward Cedric Panzu has one goal and two points for the season.

RYAN IANNI — Staff Writer

The SCSU men’s soccer team could not have chosen a worse time to play conference rival and their first nationally-ranked team, Franklin Pierce, who defeated the Owls 3-1 on Oct. 5.

Coming into the match, Southern was coming off back-to-back defeats against LeMoyne and Merrimack, and now had to try and defeat the first place and only undefeated team in the conference.

“I thought we had a good idea coming into the game of what we needed to do to be successful and play with them,” said head coach Tom Lang, “and I think that there were some positives that came out of it; but again, a couple of mistakes that we made cost us a couple of goals, and as a result we are again chasing the game.”

Southern began the half with a series of passes, which eventually fell to the foot of junior Yoni Feldman, who shot just wide.  It all went from there.

The Franklin Pierce Ravens asserted their dominance into the game by controlling the majority of possession and creating better opportunities to open the scoring.

The Raven’s first true opportunity came in the 19th minute of play, when a shot from the top of the penalty box came hurtling towards the bottom left corner. Southern goalkeeper Andrew Esposito was able to block it away for a corner kick.

The nonstop pressure from Franklin Pierce paid off just two minutes later as they finally broke the deadlock.  Southern gave away the ball in the defensive half of midfield, where the ball was quickly passed to the Raven’s senior forward, Victor Goncalves, who had time to cut into the box and rip the shot to the lower left corner of the net.

“We’ve got to find a way to stop making some mental errors and mistakes and clean some things up and we’ll be okay,” said Lang.

Southern’s frustration began to show, as one-minute later junior Luke Perry received a yellow card for a hard tackle against a Franklin Pierce player.

“We’ve got to show a bit of character when teams are losing,” said Perry. “That’s how you see who’s going to be champion in the end.”

The 25th minute finally presented SCSU with their best opportunity to tie the score.  A long pass down the right flank found senior Jeremy Tavares with a gap behind the Raven’s defense.  Tavares wound up and took his shot, which careened just over the top of the upper corner.

That was to be Southern’s only solid opportunity of the half, as Franklin Pierce then continued to show their superiority and skill by having a number of chances that were either sent wide of the net or saved by Esposito.

“We’ve got to be better at doing the things that we do well,” said Lang, “and clean up and eliminate some of the mistakes that we made, and make sure that we keep trying to be positive about moving forward.”

The second half was to continue the same as the first, which eventually led to the Raven’s second goal of the match. In the 53rd minute, senior Diego Tabares found himself with a lot of space on the left wing, he then sprinted downfield and beat the defender, allowing him to shoot towards the far post, which ricocheted off and into the back of the net.

“I wish I could have done a little better on that second goal,” said senior goalkeeper Andrew Esposito.  “It was a tight angle and I think I could have done better.”

Five minutes later is where Franklin Pierce sealed Southern’s fate.  A nice through-ball to junior Greg Giguere allowed him a one-on-one with Esposito, who was able to block the shot; it fell right back to Giguere, he then slotted his pass to the streaking run of Diego Tabares, who put the ball in the open net.

“Little things,” said Esposito, “taking care of the ball on our first touch, taking care of passes, and just cleaning things up.  I think it was the third goal that come from somebody taking too many touches in the middle of the field, giving it away, and them ramming it down our throats, and that’s just the little things that you’ve got to take care of.”

SCSU was able to grab a late consolation goal in the 81st minute, after several good passes ended up in the box where Feldman passed to Perry who smashed it into the net.  Unfortunately it was too little too late for the Owls.

“There was 10 minutes left,” said Perry. “We were just trying to gain momentum, but it’s difficult to come back from 3-1 down.”

With three straight losses, Southern now moves to a 4-5 record, and 3-3 in the Northeast-10 conference.  Franklin Pierce keeps their unbeaten streak and moves to 10-0 overall, and 6-0 in the conference.

“We’ve still got a lot to play for this year,” said Lang.  “There’s still a place to shoot for in the conference, conference tournament, NCAA tournament, so you never know what’s going to happen.  This loss doesn’t kill us and like I said, we can take some positives out of this game that I think we can build on, and hopefully move forward and get some results.”

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