Men’s soccer trying to hang out to playoff berth

Michael RiccioSports Editor

A year after going 11-4-4, having an 8-1-4 record in the NE10 conference, and playing an NCAA Tournament game against University of the District of Columbia, the men’s soccer season has had more of a rocky season in 2018.

After beginning the season with a 5-1 loss to Mercy, the Owls rattled off four wins in
a row, all at home. Since that 4-1 start, however, the Owls are just 3-5 in their last eight games and sit at 7-6 overall and 4-5 in conference play.

The Owls have particularly struggled on the road this year, going 1-4 away from Jess Dow Field as compared to 6-2 in home games.

Reasons for the Owls struggles this season could be because of their defense. Last season, the Owls allowed just 19 goals in the 19 games they played. This year, the Owls have already allowed 23 goals in just 13 games. The 23 goals allowed this season is tied for the third most allowed by any NE10 conference team.

The Owls lost seven seniors from last season, including starting goalkeeper Noah Varonier, Louis Greenway Tambini, Ignacio Navarro, and Sabri Akter. Varonier posted a .817 save percentage in his final year, while Tambini led the Owls in all scoring categories as he notched 14 goals, five assists and 33 points.

At goalkeeper this season, the Owls have rotated Bailey Bassett, a transfer from the University of Connecticut,and Jake Davis, a graduate transfer from King University in Tennessee. Also stepping up in expanded roles this year have been leading goal scorer Devante Teixeira, who has started 13 games this season after starting in 11 last year, and Blaise Haba, who started only six games last year as compared to 12 this year. Freshman Daniel Utgaard has also started every game in his debut year and has scored
two goals. The Owls have also gotten a spark off the bench from Lukas Symecki, who
has three goals on the year, including a game-winner in overtime against Bridgeport on Sept. 2.

Two of the Owls’ last four games this season are at home. They will benefit from playing Saint Anselm on the last game of the season, who is last in the conference with a record of 0-7-2. However, their next three games are against Le Moyne College, Merrimack College, and The College of Saint Rose, who are all ahead of them in the standings.

With the top eight teams making the conference tournament, the Owls postseason chances are still up in the air. They currently are tied for eighth in the standings with Stonehill with a week and a half remaining.


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