Today: Jul 24, 2024

Men’s soccer loses to Merrimack College 1-0

Aaron JohnsonSports Editor

An exciting, promising season for the Southern Connecticut State University men’s soccer team came to a crashing, frustrating halt this past Sunday afternoon as the Owls feel in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Merrimack College 1-0 at Jess Dow Field. As the season comes to a close the Owls finished with a 15-5 record.

The lone goal of the game came on a header from Merrimack junior Augusto Silva in the 59th minute that was able to make it to the back corner of the net, just out of the reach of freshman goalkeeper Noah Varonier. Southern was unable to recover, despite having several great opportunities down the stretch.

“It was just a ball down the line,” Varonier said. “It was the left back I think. The right back came and defended him. And they hit the ball across and he kinda just got open. He headed it back across I mean it was a great header, it went right of 90 so there wasn’t much I could do about it.”

soccer-1The feel after the match was that of disappointment. Senior captain Jonas Folstad said that the team let this one get away.

“It’s disappointing obviously,” he said. “It’s just really, really disappointing. Empty, I think this was a game that we should have won. We didn’t play our best game, but still think we should have won it. Just really disappointed in the performance and disappointed in the result.”

Southern worked the entire second half to get the equalizer, outshooting the Warriors seven to three, including four to zero in corner kicks. Merrimack goalkeeper Jose Silva made several key stops on potential Owls’ goals, slamming the door shut on a season that saw Southern climb to a No. 5 ranking in all of Division-II.

“If you look back on it the season hasn’t been bad overall,” said Folstad. “Right now it doesn’t matter. We could have been 20-0 and this moment would still been just as disappointing.”

Varonier, who finished the match with four saves, said that he agrees with Folstad in that the result of the game was disappointing and wanted a lot more out of the season.

“We could have achieved much more,” said Varonier. “It’s a really big driving factor for next season. Coming this far and I came out and I didn’t play my best. I came out a little shaky and it was a big moment for me. But now that I’ve been used to it and everything it’s just going to help me out in the future.”

soccer-3Folstad said that it was frustrating to see the amount of missed opportunities during the match that the Owls had. As one of a handful of players that will not be returning it was a sour way to finish what had been a great season.

“We got some real good chances there at the end,” he said. “The whole game we were like panicking when we had the chance. They had the composure that we needed to put it away. Not just in the scoring chances, but even in the first half when we almost gave away some scoring chances.”

He said that the inability to stay calm in those pressure moments is what really hurt the Owls, especially late when they desperately tried to find that tying goal.

“Overall it just seemed we were not composed a little bit,” Folstad said. “Feels like maybe the moment was a little too big for us today and Merrimack was ready for it and we weren’t. That was the difference.”

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas

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