Oct. 31, 2007
The Set-Up... The Pioneer men's soccer team closes out the regular season. Saturday as they host Fairleigh Dickinson at Campud Field. Sacred Heart controls their own destiny for the NEC playoffs, needing only to win to clinch a spot in the tournament. Kick-off is set for 2:00 pm.
Pioneers Sweep Brooklyn Trip... The Pioneers swept their Brooklyn road trip, defeating St Francis (NY), 2-0, Friday night and then downing LIU, 5-2, on Sunday. Junior Jason Tessitore had four goals on the week, including a hat trick against LIU on Sunday. It was the first hat trick by a SHU player in the Division I Era. The five goals were also the most SHU has scored since turning Division I in 1999. Ricarti Mendes also had a big week, posting two goals and three assists.
Last time vs FDU... Freshman forward Samson Malijani set the tone offensively, collecting his first collegiate hat trick after scoring two goals in the first stanza, as Fairleigh Dickinson beat Sacred Heart, 3-0 last year.
Scouting the Knights... Fairleigh Dickinson starts the final weekend with a 2-3-2 record in league play, good for eight points and seventh in the league standings. Samson Malijani leads the team and is third in the league with 10 goals and two assists on the year. Goaltender Elvir Prasovic has posted a 1.08 goals against average on the season.
Senior Salute... The Pioneers will honor their five graduating seniors prior to the game. This year's group of seniors has been instrumental to turning around the Sacred Heart program and leading them to the playoffs for the first time ever in 2005. This year they have SHU on the verge of another NEC playoff bid.
Playoff Push... Entering the final weekend of the season there are still two spots up for grabs in the NEC playoffs. Monomuth and Saint Francis (PA) have already clinched spots while as many as six teams are still in the hunt for the final two spots in the tournament.
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. Tessitore became the first player in SHU's Division I era to record a hat trick, when he scored three goals against LIU. 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 three goals and three assists on the year, including the game winner against Central Connecticut.
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 0.79 goals against average, third best in the league, and a second-best seven shutouts to his credit already. Jones has now allowed just nine goals in his last 14 games, going 8-5-1 with five 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... The Northeast Conference tournament, featuring the top four teams in the league, will be held November 16-18 at the home of the highest seed. The semifinals will be Friday with the championship on Sunday.