Owls playoff bound
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
The men’s soccer team, who came in 22nd in the country, honored their seven seniors and won their 10th game last Friday night, 2-0, to close out the regular-season at 10-2-4.
The Owls defeated Saint Anselm after an own-goal at 67:49 and one from Greenway-Tambini, assisted by Lucas Saunders, at 84:50.
“Senior Night is nice for the seniors to come out and come away with the victory, but I’m disappointed overall with how we played,” head coach Tom Lang said. “I didn’t think that the quality was there and going into the playoffs we still need to clean up a few things.”
That opening playoff game, the NE10 quarterfinal, took place last night. Going in, Southern was the third seed and their opponent, Saint Rose, was seeded sixth overall. The Northeast-10 playoff seeding for men’s soccer is led by Adelphi University.
“Like coach said, we didn’t really play to our best tonight,” senior Louis Greenway-Tambini said. “We could’ve beaten them by a few more goals. When we get into the playoffs it’s the top eight teams in the conference; we’ve got to make sure we’re on our A game.”
The playoffs, which began Tuesday night, feature games hosted by the higher seed. The entire spread of Northeast-10 schools in this year’s conference tournament, ordered by their seed, include Adelphi, Merrimack, the Owls, Southern New Hampshire, Le Moyne, Saint Rose, Franklin Pierce and Bentley.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the group; they’ve worked hard and done well, but we need to get a few things cleaned up. It’s stuff that we’ve covered before. It’s just sometimes at the end of the season there’s a lack of concentration and stuff, so we need to make sure to get back on track.”
If the Owls win their game Halloween night they will play again at home Friday night at home, and if they win Friday they will appear in the conference championship November 5. Their fortune for the national Division II NCAA men’s soccer tournament will depend on their performance in NE10s this week.
“I’ve been in the conference tournament but never in the NCAA Tournament,” Greenway-Tambini said. “It was a really competitive game and we have to keep our wins up for the national ranking (so not every senior played).”
Before the game the seven seniors who were honored included goalkeeper Noah Varonier, defensemen Gabe Diaz and Saunders, midfielder Ignacio Navarro, forwards Sabri Akter and Greenway-Tambini and defenseman Tom Gardiner.
Greenway-Tambini, who’s been the highlight for the Owls this season and throughout his entire Southern career, transferred after one season at the University of New Haven. Three other players on the team have transferred to Southern: Saunders, who was previously at Division III Western Connecticut State, junior defenseman Jhony Gonzalez, who played at Dean College, and sophomore defenseman Noah Rattet, who was at Division III Eastern Connecticut State.
The Owls’ program is known for winning the national championship in both 1998 and 1999 and has been in the NCAA Tournament 12 times. Lang took over in 1997 and is the third head coach in program history. In addition to his success at Southern, he played professionally in the North American Soccer League. As a student-athlete, he graduated from Adelphi in 1981 and spent three seasons heading their women’s program, starting in 1987. During that time he led Adelphi to a national semifinal game in 1989.
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana