Men's Soccer Clinches NEC Playoff Berth With 2-1 Win over FDU
Nov. 3, 2007
Fairifeld, CT - Senior Ricarti Mendes (Campinas, Brazil) and junior Jason Tessitore (Orange, CT) each notched first half goals and the Pioneer defense held tough in blustery conditions to lead Sacred Heart to a 2-1 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in men's soccer action Saturday at Campus Field. With the win the Pioneers clinched a spot in the Northeast Conference playoffs for the second time in three years. SHU will be the number three seed.
Playing with the wind at their backs in the first half, the Pioneers got off to a fast start when Tessitore notched his team leading seventh goal of the season at the 10:27 mark. Freshman Mario Mililli (Shelton, CT) sent a beatiful lob pass into the box and Tessitore leapt and headed the ball past Knights goaltender Elvir Prasovic to give SHU the lead. FDU tied the game five minutes later when Sean Moriarity fired a free kick from 30 yards out that snuck inside the right post of the goal, past the outstretched arms of Pioneer goaltender Matt Jones (Stoke-on-Trent, England).
Sacred Heart took the lead for good at the 38:48 mark. Fairleigh Dickinson was called for a foul in the box, setting up a penalty kick for Mendes. His shot was stopped by a diving Prasovic, but Mendes sprinted in to pick up the rebound. He controlled the loose ball and lifted it over the Knights' sprawled out goaltender to give SHU the lead back. It was Mendes' sixth goal of the year and his team leading 18th point.
The Pioneers controlled much of the game offensively, out-shooting FDU 20-9. Prasovic made five saves in net for the Knights while Jones stopped two shots to preserve the clincher for the Pioneers.
Sacred Heart finishes the regular season with a 10-7-1 record overall, the most wins since the program turned Division I in 1999. The Pioneers went 6-3 in league play and will face either Monmouth or Saint Francis (PA) in the NEC semifinals on November 16. Full seedings and schedules will be announced by the league at the conclusion of regular season play next week.