FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Sacred Heart University men's soccer team returns to the friendly confines of Campus Field for its first home contest in over three weeks. The Pioneers hit the road after compiling a perfect 3-0 record at home and return with an overall record of 5-2.
Sacred Heart currently ranks second in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com North Atlantic Region and begin conference play with a 6:00 pm tilt on Friday against Northeast Conference foe Long Island. Friday's game will be followed up with another home contest, against St. Francis (NY), at 12:00 noon.
Last Time Out... SHU, then ranked fourth in the North Atlantic Region, held on for a 2-1 victory against an Iona team ranked third in the region. The win improved the Pioneers to 5-2-0 overall, their best start since joining Division I. Sophomore midfielder Edwin Victor (Bridgeport, Conn.) broke the ice with a strike from 35 yards out that found the back of the net. Junior goalkeeper Alex Fait (Ottawa, Ont.) kept the Gaels off the board when he stuffed a penalty kick in the 63rd minute. Fait would finish the game with five saves. Sophomore striker Brian Francolini (Ellington, Conn.) added his second goal of the season to extend the lead to 2-0.
About the Pioneers... Sacred Heart finished the bulk of its non-conference schedule with an overall record of 5-2-0. Sophomore defender Marcello Castro (Parana, Brazil) leads the team with three goals, equaling his freshman year total, and one assist for seven total points. Francolini has scored twice and added an assist, while fellow sophomore Justin Brewer (Somers, Conn.) has collected two assists and tallied one goal of his own. In goal, Fait has racked up 27 saves and owns a 1.22 goals against average.
Scouting the Blackbirds... Long Island enters this evening's contest with an overall record of 3-5-0. The Blackbidrs came away with a 1-0 win over Colgate, at home, last Saturday. Senior forward Juan Lanza has netted two goals and dished out an assist, while junior defender Nik Conklin has tallied two scores in five games played. Junior goalkeeper Adam Janssen has made four starts in net and sports a 1.40 GAA and .793 save percentage. Sophomore John Connolly has also been called upon four starts and totaled 11 saves.
Last Time vs. LIU... The Pioneers escaped Brooklyn with a 2-1 overtime victory last November. Castro notched the game winner three minutes into the extra frame. The Blackbirds held a 10-2 advantage in shots in the first half, but Fait produced four of his six saves in the opening stanza to keep SHU within one. Sophomore Jakeem Johnson netted LIU's lone goal of the afternoon. Senior Aaron Kiely (London, England) scored the equalizer for the Pioneers in the 55th minute.
Scouting the Terriers... St. Francis (NY) comes into the weekend with a record of 2-3-2 and is first in action at Fairleigh Dickinson for a 7:00 pm game on Friday night. Senior John Sallhag leads the way for the SFNY attack with six goals through the first seven games. Sophomore Adam Maabdi has contributed a pair of assists and notched one score. Between the pipes, junior Curtis Julien holds a 1.38 GAA and a .763 save percentage.