Owls fall in NE-10

Matt GadSports Writer

Southern men’s soccer has concluded their regular and conference postseason at 11-3-4 after losing to second-seeded Merrimack last Friday night, 3-1.

The Owls, who were seeded third in the NE10 Tournament, would have hosted the conference championship last Sunday if they defeated Merrimack, since top-seeded Adelphi fell in the quarterfinals.

“Every single year we’ve made the [NE10] playoffs,” senior goalkeeper Noah Varonier said. “Every single year we’ve been in these environments; it’s just about battling, and that’s the game plan: play hard and keep moving on.”

Varonier made those comments after the Owls defeated Saint Rose in the Northeast-10 quarterfinals Oct. 31, 3-1. Lucas Saunders scored at the 17:41 mark in the first half off an assist from Sabri Akter and then leading goal scorer Louis Greenway-Tambini netted his 13th of the year at 26:57 and his 14th of the year at 48:56. It was Saunders’ first goal of 2017.

“We’re pleased we got the result and got the victory,” head coach Tom Lang said after the Saint Rose game. “We played Saint Rose before [so] we knew they were a difficult team and at the end of the day we were looking forward to the challenge. We found a way to get the job done.”

Lang has had a history of success in the postseason as the head coach of the Owls. Since taking over the program in 1997, he’s won over 250 games and two national championships — in 1998 and 1999. With six titles for the program overall, they are the winningest championship men’s soccer program in all of Division II.

For Varonier, he has a different kind of pressure on his shoulders for the team. Instead of being relied upon to get the ball in the net, his focus, as a goalkeeper, is to keep the opponent’s out of it.

“Sometimes I’m not always involved in the game, but it’s just about being mentally and physically ready to get the save in and I’m always talking to my back line; always staying involved in the game,” Varonier said. “I’m the last line of defense, so if anything goes past me then that’s a goal for them. So it’s always just about staying focused and being ready to make a big save.”

For his efforts, he was among six Owls who received conference honors for their regular-season performances: freshman Nicolas Colodrero won NE10 Rookie of the Year, Greenway-Tambini took home All-Conference First Team, Varonier was tabbed to the All-Conference Second Team and freshmen Ignasi Cererols and Kevin van der Pol were placed on the NE10 Third Team. Additionally, they were both named to the All-Conference Rookie Team, joining Colodrero and Sebastian Jarlenas.

Lang discussed how he spoke with his team spoke at the half after their 2-0 advantage and stressed the need for a third goal “to swing momentum [our way].” He said Saint Rose “would be desperate and throw members forward” but was happy his team kept composure in the end.

Against Merrimack, the Owls fell behind at 11:59 when Mattia Lanzi scored his fourth goal of the year to make it 1-0. Aasmund Joedahl and Franklin Liam Born added goals at 66:54 and 71:05 but Southern was able to avoid the shutout when Akter scored off a Dylan Hogan assist at 88:34.

They will now wait to see if they will be selected for the Division II NCAA Tournament.

Photo Courtesy: Southernctowls.com

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