FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Sacred Heart University men's soccer team returns home, following a 0-0 tie at #10 Monmouth, to host Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris on Campus Field during the team's alumni weekend.
The Pioneers remain second in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com North Atlantic Region for the third straight week and have received two votes in the NSCAA National Poll. This is the second time this season that SHU has appeared in the received votes category of this poll.
This weekend's action kicks off on Friday night as SHU hosts Saint Francis (PA) at 7:00 pm. Game two gets underway Sunday at 12:00 noon against Robert Morris.
About the Pioneers... SHU stands at 8-2-1 overall and 3-0-1 atop the Northeast Conference standings. The Pioneers have already passed last season's win total of seven and are approaching the program's Division I record for wins in a seven, 10 which was set in 2007. For the third straight week the team is ranked second in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com North Atlantic Region and this week received two votes in the NSCAA National Poll. Sophomores Marcello Castro and Brian Francolini lead the SHU attack with three goals and an assist, apiece. Graduate student Patrick Daka has produced two goals and two assists, while seeing significant time as the first substitution off the bench. In net, junior goalkeeper Alex Fait was named this week's Enterprise Rent-A-Car/SHU Student-Athlete of the Week after pitching a pair of shutouts last week. Fait has earned four shutouts, including three in a row, and holds a 0.94 goals against average and a .771 save percentage.
In the Polls... Nationally, Monmouth dropped to 12th in the NSCAA/hendrickcars.com poll, while Sacred Heart garnered votes for the second time this season. Four NEC schools were represented in this week's North Atlantic Region rankings. The Hawks and Pioneer maintained their hold on the top two spots. SHU's two opponents in the week ahead rounded out the NEC's activity in the poll with Saint Francis (PA) ranked fourth and Robert Morris sixth.
Scouting the Red Flash... Coming off a scoreless tie against Central Connecticut and a 4-3 win over Quinnipiac, Saint Francis enters Friday's contest 6-3-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the NEC. Senior Patrick Fleming leads the Red Flash, currently fourth in the North Atlantic Region, and the NEC in scoring with a league-high 19 points on six goals and seven assists. Sophomore forward Wayne Tiller has added four scores and an assist, while classmate Daniel Valcicak has started eight games in goal and owns a 1.32 GAA and .820 save percentage.
Last Time vs. SFPA... Behind goals by Nemanja Filimonovic and Denis Brunotte Sacred Heart pulled out a 2-1 road victory over the Red Flash a year ago. Tiller netted Saint Francis' goal with 1:54 left in the second half.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers battled #10 Monmouth to a scoreless draw on the road last Sunday. Fait stopped six shots in an effort to earn the team's second straight 0-0 tie against the 10th ranked Hawks. Last season the two teams met on Campus Field and Fait made nine saves to keep MU off the board in that game. Last week, sophomore Justin Brewer led the SHU attack with three shots, including one midway through the second half that was on target, but saved by a Hawk defender.
Scouting the Colonials... RMU is 6-4-1 overall and 2-0-1, tied for second in the conference with SFPA and Monmouth, heading into the weekend. Senior midfielder Neil Shaffer leads the Colonials with 12 total points on five goals and two assists. Freshman forward Prince Samuels is second in scoring with two goals and a team-best four assists. Sophomore keeper Toba Bolaji has posted a 1.06 GAA and made 48 saves for a .800 save percentage.
Last Time vs. RMU... Sacred Heart fell 1-0, on the road, to Robert Morris last October. On a break away, Francis Bowman tallied the only goal of the game, in the 20th minute, to give the Colonials the victory. Fait and Bolaji made four saves each.