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In search of its first victory, men’s soccer ties Long Island
Seeking to notch their first victory of the season, the Bobcats took the pitch on Friday in New York as they squared off against Long Island University.
Their well-documented struggles would surely gain some measure of relief with a victory as they sought to climb their way out of the NEC basement. After a hard-fought battle, the Bobcats came away with a 1-1 draw. With the tie the Bobcats move to 0-7-3 and are 0-1-2 in the NEC while the Blackbirds move to 2-8-1 and 0-2-1 in the NEC.
The first half of the match saw a display of staunch defense at both ends. It was an excellent sign for the Bobcats as they were able to contain the promising and speedy LIU freshman striker, Ryan Williams. Possession percentage was fairly even as the two clubs gained a feel for one another. LIU concentrated on working the wings as a number of close call crosses were turned away by the Bobcats backline. It would have been 1-0 in favor of the Blackbirds had it not been for senior keeper Paul Fleck. He showed tremendous awareness as he got a hand on a shot from 25 yards out, denying what by should have been a goal. Fleck faced 13 shots and saved two of those on net.
The tie was broken when Ryan Williams found the back of the net in the 52nd minute for LIU. Williams took a lead pass on the right side from wingman Szymon Hryszczyk and turned it into a goal. Williams flashed outside and with nifty footwork, turned inside and fired at the lower left hand corner of the net, beating Fleck.
Unlike past matches when the Bobcats were down and stayed that way, the attack kept up a solid barrage in front of the LIU net. Frustration abounded for the ‘Cats as they went scoreless until the 68th minute. After continuing to apply the steady pressure in which the Blackbirds could only muster one clearance, senior forward Alex Achigbu fired home the equalizer. Francis Mavula found his striker counterpart with a pass that Achigbu converted.
The last 22 minutes of the match went scoreless, ending in a draw. Although it was not the result hoped for, Quinnipiac was pleased to come from behind and even the score.
“Not only did we tie the game, but we had fair share opportunities to open the game up,” head coach Eric Da Costa said. “Their goalie made a bunch big saves. We battled hard for 120 minutes and were able to take a point out of it.”
“I’m pleased with the way that boys played,” Da Costa added. “LIU is a difficult place to play. It’s a small field, an intimidating environment. With the wind conditions today, we had to fight them off 55 minutes while playing against the wind. The boys showed great composure.”
Quinnipiac continued its NEC season against Saint Francis on Sunday. The ‘Cats battled to a 0-0 tie against their conference foe after two overtime periods.
The Bobcats play host to two NEC teams in the coming week. On Friday they take on national powerhouse Fairleigh Dickinson at 3 p.m. On Sunday, Sacred Heart rolls into town for a contest slated to start at noon.
The ‘Cats are still looking for their first win of the 2006 campaign.