The St. Francis College Brooklyn Men’s Soccer team (5-1-0, 5-1-0 NEC) defeated the reigning Northeast Conference (NEC) Champions Fairleigh Dickinson (2-5-1, 2-3-1 NEC), 2-1, to clinch its sixth NEC Regular Season Championship in program history. With the win, the Terriers secured the No. 1 overall seed and earned the right to host the NEC Championship game, which will be held at a to be determined date and time.
The victory was the Terriers’ fifth in a row, which is their longest winning streak since they won six-straight contests from October 20-November 12, 2017. St. Francis claimed its sixth NEC Regular Season Championship in program history and first since 2017. The Terriers have captured three NEC Regular Season Championships during Head Coach Tom Giovatto’s tenure (2016, 2017, Spring 2021).
St. Francis and Fairleigh Dickson played a scoreless first half, but the Terriers controlled the tempo as they were on the offensive attack throughout the opening frame. St. Francis registered 14 shots in the first half, opposed to just one from the Knights, which was also a testament to the Terriers’ defensive prowess.
The Terriers broke through in the second half when senior forward Nicolas Molina found the back of the net with a penalty kick goal to give St. Francis a 1-0 lead in the 68th minute. Senior defender Vicente Gallardo was pulled down in the box and the Terriers were granted a penalty kick. Molina fired the ball into the back of the net and tallied his team-leading third goal of the season.
Fairleigh Dickson tied the game up at 1-1 in the 80th minute when Ideal Shefqeti converted a penalty kick of his own. A little over two minutes later in the 82nd minute the Terriers would respond as junior midfielder Ramchwy Saint Vil sent a cross to junior forward Khaled Abdella, who drove the ball into the back of the net to put St. Francis out in front, 2-1. Abdella’s goal was his first of the season and it proved to be the game-winner.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
St. Francis Brooklyn – 2 | Fairleigh Dickinson – 1
- Abdella scored his first goal of the season and the fourth of his career, which was the game-winner in the 82nd minute. It was Abdella’s first goal since September 27, 2019, at Central Connecticut.
- Molina scored his team-leading third goal and increased his points total to nine, which also leads the team. The goal was the fifth of his career and the first of his career on a penalty kick. The senior has recorded points in five out of the Terriers’ six games this season. He has scored goals in back-to-back games for the Terriers.
- Saint Vil registered the assist on Abdella’s game-winning goal. The assist was Saint Vil’s second of the season and he has recorded points in three out of the last four games.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Callum James earned his fifth win of the season and the and the ninth of his career. James faced eight shots over 90 minutes in goal.
- Junior forward El Mahdi Youssoufi registered seven shots with one going on target in 53 minutes off the bench.
- Senior midfielder Ivan Tapuskovic and junior midfielder Sokol Ymeraj each attempted four shots apiece in the contest. Tapuskovic had one shot go on target, while Ymeraj had one go on goal.
- As a team, the Terriers outshot FDU, 26-8. St. Francis had eight shots go on goal, while Fairleigh Dickinson had none.
- Today’s win marked career win number 125 for Terriers’ Head Coach Tom Giovatto. Giovatto is now just two wins shy of tying Sam Carrington for the second-most in program history.
- With the win, the Terriers improved to (3-0) at Brooklyn Bridge Park this season and (42-11-5) since they began playing their home games there in 2013.
NOTES FROM THE COACH:
“It’s been a crazy year, but the guys have been incredible, the work that they put in is amazing. All the credit goes to those guys, it has been incredible to see,” said Coach Giovatto as he discussed winning the NEC Regular Season Championship.
“In the first half I thought we played well, I thought we had a little bit of a slow start, but the guys picked it up, and we started to win the midfield. What I liked was we started to get some opportunities and started to control the game. We would have liked to get a goal in that first half, but we are happy that we started to play better, and right away in the second half the guys created a bunch of chances. They did a great job and we finally got the PK, that was a big PK to get us on the board. We knew FDU was going to be tough, they are the defending NEC Champions, they were not going to stop, they were not going to quit, they have been doing it all year – we knew it was going to be a tough game,” noted Coach Giovatto as he discussed the team’s play in the first half and what it took to win the game.
“Congratulations, but it’s on to the next game. We have LIU next week, they are playing incredible, they won their last two games, 4-0, respectively. It is going to be a big test for us and we need to be ready,” said Coach Giovatto on his message to the team following the win over FDU.
“Every game means everything to us, we want to win every single time we are out there, we want to compete. We might be in, but we still want to play well next week,” added Coach Giovatto as he looked ahead to next week’s contest against LIU.
The Terriers are back at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 5 to host LIU on Monday, April 12, at 1 p.m. The game will broadcast on NECFrontRow.com.
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