Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer –
Coming off two consecutive road losses, the Owls (5-4-1) returned home Tuesday night at Jess Dow Field, where they defeated conference opponent American International College (3-8-2), to avoid a five-game losing streak.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” head coach Tom Lang said. “We’ve been going through a rough spell where we haven’t gotten some results. We’ve been a little inconsistent in our play, and tonight I feel like we put together a pretty good, solid 90 minutes. Overall I was pleased with the effort and energy that the team brought to the game.”
The Owls jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute when senior forward Mario DiMicelli assisted junior mid-fielder Ross McGibney on a goal. From there, the Owls proceeded to score one more goal before the half, as freshman Mads Larsen, assisted by DiMicelli, chipped the ball directly over AIC goalkeeper Sebastian Tamayo in the 36th minute.
Scoring did not end there for Southern, as freshman forward Daquan King, in the 59th minute, assisted DiMicelli who beat Tamayo to the bottom right corner of the net. The goal sealed a 3-0 victory for the Owls.
“I’m very happy about the win,” DiMicelli said. “We hit a bit of a rough patch before, but I’m happy here at home we were able to play AIC and get a good result. I think tactically and mentally, it was one of our best games. We were all in it today.”
The defense proved to be a difference maker, as the Owls held AIC to only six shots, five on goal, while the Owls offense tallied 29 total shots, 14 on goal.
“If we play like we’re playing now, we have our chance,” DiMicelli said. “I feel like we got to keep working, and hopefully this win got us out of the unlucky losing streak we’ve been in. I hope this momentum will carry over into our next game.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Sasso, who replaced the injured Greg Cumpstone, made his second consecutive start for the Owls. In his first appearance against Saint Anselm College, Sasso surrendered three goals.
Tuesday night proved to be different as Sasso saved all five of AIC’s shots on goal.
“First game, I had a little bit of nerves in me, but I felt comfortable,” Sasso said. “Coming into this game, I felt a lot more comfortable. Coming off a loss, the guys were looking for a positive attitude…I knew I had a team in front of me, and I did my job for them.”
Tuesday night’s game was the first of a three-game home stint for Southern. The Owls next two opponent’s feature conference rival Southern New Hampshire University (7-2) and non-conference opponent Bridgeport University (7-6).
Lang said after the game that the victory over AIC was very important for his team to get back on track.
“It’s always nice to win, but I’m pleased with the way that we won,” Lang said. “We’ve been struggling and you’ll take the results wherever you can get them. For me, this was a very good comprehensive performance over 90 minutes, and that’s what we need to bring to the table each and every time we step onto the field.”
Despite a difficult challenge in their next game against Southern New Hampshire, Lang said he’s confident his team can claim a victory.
“We don’t have a lot of time to turn around and prepare,” Lang said. “Southern New Hampshire–I’ve seen them play and they could be the best team in the region. If we play like this, I think it’ll be a great game for people to come and watch.”