Men’s soccer falls to AIC behind two late goals
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Trying to shake off a 1-0 loss at Adelphi, the Owls went into last Saturday’s matchup with American International with the focus to improve their standing as a possible playoff team. However things did not exactly come to fruition.
The Owls played a scoreless defensive battle most of the way but things got chippy with 18 minutes to go. Dexter Tenn got called for a red card, after a skirmish that left
the Yellow Jackets’ Alexandre Frank penalized with a yellow, and then the deadlock broke off Jake Durham’s first goal of the season, a header straight into the net.
“The red card at the end kind of put us under,” captain Zak Wright, a junior defender, said. “But we have to look forward, we gotta bounce back. We have four games left in the season and we’re looking to make the
conference tournament and every point counts. This team’s capable of winning games and we just have to put our heads on it and hopefully get some points next time.”
The team ended up losing 2-0. Steven Hernandez scored on a right-sided cross with five minutes remaining for American International to complete the 2-0 victory.
“The team has to focus the mindset on moving on to the next game,” assistant coach Paul Templeton said. “We have to put the disappointment behind us. We have two massive games against Le Moyne and Merrimack this week with conference points at stake so we need an attitude to improve.”
In the current standings, the Owls are eighth, one place behind Assumption and just ahead of Stonehill and Bentley. Le Moyne and Merrimack, who leaves the conference and all of Division II after this academic year, are ranked third and fourth, respectively.
“We focus on ourselves first and foremost but wins against [Le Moyne and Merrimack] are important to try claw back,” Templeton said. “We want to get closer to them and the teams above us.”
Last year the squad went 11-4-4 and split their two conference tournament games, winning against The College of Saint Rose on Oct. 31, 3-1, and losing to Merrimack by the same score in the semifinals. They were awarded a game in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 but lost to the University of the District of Columbia, in Brookville, N.Y, 3-0.
“It’s never the same team year-to-year and you gotta focus up and take what you can,” Wright said. “I don’t look back on last year and say we should be so much better this year. It’s just different.”
Now 7-6, and 4-5 in the NE10, the Owls have four games left in the regular season to try to force their way into the NE10 Tournament.
“If you win the conference tournament you have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. So our target is to get to the conference tournament, win the games and the conference tournament and then hopefully have the chance in the NCAA,”
Templeton said. “This time of year the games take on extra significance. Every game matters and you go into the postseason and one game, one slip can cost you the entire season so the levels of play and concentration have to be higher.”
Photo Credit: Jenna Stepleman