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Men’s Soccer: Da Costa: ‘We are winners’
Playing for the program’s first NEC Championship, Quinnipiac trailed 2-0 with 37 minutes remaining against Monmouth, whose 17-1-1 record spoke for itself. Yet the result left Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa labeling the season a success.
“We are not an easy team to beat,” Da Costa said. “There is a great deal of determination and commitment from all of our players and that is the vibe of our program. We are winners.”
A second half goal by senior midfielder Shane Recklet kept the No. 3 Bobcats in it as they ultimately fell short in the title game, 2-1.
Much like the Bobcats’ 2009 season, the program as a whole has grown the past few seasons to a level where expectations have reached an all-time high.
“We are right where we need to be,” Da Costa said. “It just validates all the hard work that my staff and myself have put in and all the hard work that our players have put in. These guys step on the field now and they expect to win every game they play.”
And over the last three seasons, winning games is exactly what the Bobcats have done. In 2007, the Bobcats recorded their first winning season under Da Costa. In 2008, Quinnipiac reached the NEC Tournament for the first time since 2004. This past season, the team won its first ever NEC Tournament game on penalty kicks.
Winning certainly wasn’t easy this season, as the Bobcats had to overcome significant injuries to two starters from 2008, senior midfielder Fabricio Silva and junior midfielder Rodrigo Uchoa, along with another starter from the 2009 roster, sophomore defenseman Brett Uttley.
“Those are three huge players for us that we didn’t have,” Da Costa said. “But it shows us that we are a deep team and we are a young team. With those three guys coming back and the addition of a very good incoming recruiting class, and only having to replace two starters, I think it’s going to be another great season for us next year.”
Highlighting the success of the Bobcats’ season was their performance in close games. Through solid play from its defense, as well as the play of First Team All-NEC senior goalkeeper Freddy Hall, Quinnipiac finished with a record of 6-2 in games decided by one goal.
“We knew going into the season that it was going to be a season that we were in a lot of tight games,” Da Costa said. “We knew we had to be a lot more organized defensively and Freddy does what he always does, he makes the big saves to keep your team in games.”
It was also the proram’s first time making the NEC Tournament in consecutive seasons. Da Costa said he believes he program’s future looks bright.
“As a coaching staff, it validates all the hard work that we have put in over the course of the past five years,” Da Costa said. “Once you get over the disappointment of getting to a final and not winning, and seeing how far we have come and where we are, it makes us realize that the program is exactly where it needs to be.”