Quinnipiac men’s soccer victorious on Senior Day

The Bobcats beat Marist, 3-2 behind Simon Hillinger’s two tallies

By on October 22, 2017

Quinnipiac’s men’s soccer celebrated Senior Day on Saturday with a tilt against the Marist Red Foxes. Emotions ran high as the Bobcats outlasted the Red Foxes in a 104-minute, double overtime, 3-2 win.

Julia Gallop | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The victory was even sweeter for the Bobcats as the two teams came into the day tied for sixth in the MAAC standings.

“When you try to describe what MAAC games are like or what league games are like I think all you have to do is replay that game,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “A lot of emotion goes into games, and [there are] certainly a lot of ups and downs, and that was the case of the game today, we were fortunate enough to come out with the three points and I’m proud of all the players and the effort that they put in.”

It may have been Senior Day, but surprisingly it was the play of an unlikely freshman which proved to give the Bobcats the edge.

Freshman defender Simon Hillinger was substituted into the game in the second half and made the most of the opportunity. Hillinger scored his first two goals of his collegiate career in the game, the first being an equalizer with eight minutes left in regulation (which sent the game into overtime), and the second being the game winning goal in the second frame of overtime..

Hillinger tried to recall the goals he scored after the game.

“Honestly I can’t really remember the moments,” Hillinger said. “The first goal, I got the ball and I tried to hit it, and I hit it perfectly, and yesterday I practiced. I’m really happy [about that]. Then the overtime winner, I don’t know what went in my head, I just stopped the ball and binged it in.”

The match began after a short ceremony which recognized seniors Will Pustari, Shaquille Huggins, James Doig, Max Rothenbuecher and Filosmar Cordeiro. Although not all of the graduating players started the game on the pitch, each eventually saw time throughout the match.

The Bobcats did not waste any time on their seniors’ big day. Just one minute and change after the opening whistle, a free kick sent into the box by Rothenbuecher snuck past the Marist defense and was sent into the right side of the net on a header by sophomore defender Jeppe Haehre.

The Red Foxes did not respond until 35 minutes later when Allen Gavilanes scored the first of his two goals on the day. He capitalized on a ricochet off of the Quinnipiac goal post and buried the ball into the net.

The two MAAC competitors went into halftime knotted at one goal apiece.

After chances from both sides, in the 72nd minute Marist finally broke the draw in form of Gavilane’s second goal. Gavilanes was in the right place at the right time, as a loose ball on the backside of the box came out from the mix of a corner kick play and landed near him. Gavilanes sent the ball with ease to into the goal.

Then, just when the Bobcats needed an extra push, Hillinger delivered.

With seven minutes left in regulation, Hillinger found himself in an unusual situation, Marist had attempted to clear the ball from the box and it erroneously hit the referee, no whistle was called to stop the action. Hillinger took the rebound and sent a right footed rocket into the top right corner of the Marist goal from just outside the 18-yard box. The game was sent to overtime.

After a scoreless first overtime, the second overtime period arrived in similar fashion, until finally the spell was broken by Hillinger’s golden goal.

Junior midfielder Matthew Taylor sent a precise pass to Hillinger, who was standing open just yards away from the front of the net. The freshman defender stopped the pass, took one look, and buried the game winner beyond the helpless Marist defenders.

Julia Gallop | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Da Costa praised his freshman for taking advantage of the opportunity.

“I loved [Hillinger’s] first goal, and I think it’s one for the highlight reel, but that second one was pure class,” Da Costa said. “Simon was just tremendous with his two goals today, and that’s the difference”

Moreover, Da Costa was content with his team’s ability to come out with a victory in high stakes match such as this.

“At the end of the day it comes down to execution and players have to execute,” Da Costa noted. “It’s not just about running when it comes to this game. The collection of the players on the field at the time [in overtime] had a lot of experience and knew how to rise to the occasion.

The Bobcats now advance to 5-8-1 overall and 4-3 in conference play. With this victory the Bobcats rank fifth in the standings with just three regular season games left.

The next match for the Bobcats comes on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Siena.

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