October 4, 2007

Men's Soccer Opens NEC Play Hosting Quinnipiac, CCSU

Oct. 4, 2007

The Set-Up... The Pioneer men's soccer team opens Northeast Conference play this weekend as they welcome Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut to Campus Field. Friday's game against the Bobcats is set for 3:30 pm with Sunday's kick off slated for 12:00 pm. SHU is unbeaten in four of their last five games and has had two weeks off since their last game.

On The Air... Both of this weekend's games can be seen via live videostream on SacredHeartPioneers.com. Friday's game will also be broadcast with live audio on the website. All Pioneer home games will feature GameTracker coverage available from the homepage.

Pioneers Top Black Bears... Junior Jason Tessitore scored the only goal of the game in the 69th minute to break a scoreless tie and help the Sacred Heart men's soccer team to a 1-0 decision over the University of Maineon a foggy Friday night two weeks ago. The goal was Tessitore's first of the season.

Last time vs Quinnipaic... Graciano Brito tallied the only goal of the game off a feed from Nicolae Popescu early in the second half to give the Quinnipiac a 1-0 win over Sacred Heart last year in Hamden.

Scouting the Bobcats... Quinnipiac has had an outstaning non-conference season, going 5-0-1 to start the season. Junior Graciano Brito leads the league in scoring with nine goals on the season, including two hat tricks to his credit. Four other players have also found the back of the net as the Bobcats have outscored their opponents 17-6 on the season. Defensively, Frederick Hall has allowed just four goals in playing the majority of the time in goal.

Last Time vs Central Connecticut... Jason Tessitore scored the game winning goal in the 54th minute and junior Ricarti Mendes added a goal and an assist as the Pioneers rallied to beat Central Connecticut, 2-1, last year in New Britain.

Scouting the Blue Devils... Central Connecticut starts league play with a record of 2-5 on the year, coming in riding a three game losing streak. The Blue Devils have scored just five goals in eight games, led by a pair from Johan Rundquist. Paul Armstrong has been strong in goal for Central, allowing five goals in his seven games between the pipes.

Trifecta Up Front... The Pioneers chances for another run to the playoffs are bolstered by a strong core of returning players on both sides of the ball. Up front, junior Jason Tessitore returns to lead the attack that he has been the focus of the last two years. Tessitiore was an All-Northeast Conference selection as a freshman. In addition to Tessitore, the Pioneers also welcome back another big name up front in the 6-4, 215 pound Jesper Fredriksson. Fredriksson burst on the scene last year as led the team in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points. He already has a three goals this year. The final member of the trio is senior Ricarti Mendes who has a goal and three assists on the year, including the game winner at Yale.

Goalie From Across the Pond... Just as vital to the Pioneer success is their defense, led by junior goalkeeper Matthew Jones Jones. This year he has a 0.81 goals against average and three shutouts to his credit already. Jones has now allowed just two goals in his last five games, going 3-1-1 with two shutouts in that span. Jones had an outstanding freshman year, earning second team All-NEC honors as well as a nod to the NSCAA All-New England Men's Soccer Second Team. Although he didn't win any awards, Jones had a solid sophomore year as well. He turned in a 1.43 goals against average with a .726 save percentage. Jones posted seven wins, three of which were shutouts.

Up Next... Next weekend Sacred Heart will complete the NEC's "west coast" swing as they travel to Pennsylvania for two games. SHU will visit Robert Morris Friday afternoon and then take on Saint Francis (PA) on Sunday.