NEC Player of the Week
Joseph Schmid, Monmouth
5-6, 135 lbs
Jr., M, Kingston, PA/Wyoming West Valley (Villanova)
Junior Joseph Schmid scored one goal and handed out two assists as the Monmouth Hawks stretched their winning streak to three games with back-to-back NEC road wins last week. In a make-up game at Quinnipiac on Thursday, the Villanova transfer set up teammate Alex Weidman for the Hawks’ second of three goals in a 3-0 win over the Bobcats. He then set up another score, the game-winner by Ryan Clark, following his third goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. Thanks to his four-point performance, Schmid now ranks second on the team in scoring with eight points made up of three goals and two assists.
NEC Co-Rookie of the Week
Bruce Cullen, Robert Morris
6-0, 155 lbs
Fr., F, Pickering, Ontario/Pickering
Robert Morris got its first NEC win of the season in grand fashion on Sunday, defeating in-state rival Saint Francis (PA), 1-0, on a late goal by freshman Bruce Cullen, this week’s NEC Co-Rookie of the Week. With just under 15 minutes to play, Cullen received a pass from Niko Corado and sent it short-side past the SFPA netminder, giving RMU the only goal it would need after playing 75:34 of scoreless soccer . For the Pickering, Ontario native, it marked his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Additionally, it was the first game-winning goal of his career as well.
NEC Co-Rookie of the Week
Ben Knight, Central Connecticut
5-11, 160 lbs
Fr., D, Nottingham, United Kingdom/Burton Albion Youth Team
Central Connecticut’s Ben Knight scored two goals, including the game-winner with exactly 21 seconds to play in regulation, as the Blue Devils defeated St. Francis (NY), 3-2, to kickoff a 1-1 weekend. In a game that saw all five goals scored in the second half, Knight rallied the Blue Devils early on before securing the win with his late strike in the final minute. He knotted the game at 1-1 when he deposited teammate Reece Wilson’s rebound past the SFNY netminder with 69:04 showing on the clock. Following an exchange of goals, the Nottingham, UK native broke the 2-all tie and secured the win on a give-and-go play made possible by Jessie Menzies, scoring from 35 yards out. Knight now has two goals through 13 games played this season.
NEWS AND NOTES
SHAKING IT UP: The league standings were shaken up a bit after Week 7 action concluded on Sunday afternoon. But with just four points separating the top team from the fifth-place team, it’s anyone’s game with just a few weeks remaining until the playoffs. Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth both went 2-0-0 and have soared to the top of the standings. FDU, which sat in second just a week ago, reeled off back-to-back wins to move its winning streak to three games and take over first place in the NEC. The Knights are 4-0-1 in league play and have posted shutouts in three of their last four games. The Hawks, meanwhile, went from sixth to second place with consecutive wins over the weekend as well, downing Quinnipiac and Mount St. Mary’s on the road. However, MU has company in the No. 2 spot, as Nutmeg rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut both have 10 points apiece, matching the Hawks’ NEC total. Last week’s top team, Saint Francis (PA), fell from first to fifth but, as mentioned before, the Red Flash could easily move back into the top with a solid outing this weekend.
DYNAMIC DUO: It’s no suprise that St. Francis (NY) is leading the league in nearly every offensive category with the duo of sophomore Kevin Correa (Flushing, NY/Flushing) and senior Adam Maabdi (Lille, France/Lycee Paul Duez) leading the way up front. Correa ranks first in the league in points (20), points per game (1.54), goals (9) and goals per game (0.69). Maabdi, meanwhile, places third in points (14) and second in goals (6), goals per game (0.50) and points per game (1.17). Overall, the two have combined for 34 points thus far, making them the highest scoring duo in the league. Fairleigh Dickinson’s pair of Jack McVey (Douglas, Isle of Man/St. Ninian’s) and Nico Wright (St. Catherine, Jamaica/Jamaica College) rank second with a combined 26 points.
LET’S RANK ‘EM: Four Northeast Conference teams highlighted the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s North Atlantic Rankings released this week, with Monmouth leading the way in the No. 2 spot. The Hawks went 2-0-0 last weekend and are currently riding a three-game winning streak into this weekend’s action. The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, also winners of three in a row, placed fourth, followed by Sacred Heart in eighth and Quinnipiac in ninth. The nine-team rendition this week saw Niagara hold on to the top spot after defeating Western New York rival Canisius, 3-2. They now boast an 8-0-4 record. Loyola (MD) ranks third, while NJIT sits fifth. The Griffins of Canisius and Siena round out the ranked teams in sixth and seventh, respectively.
FLAIR FOR THE DRAMATICS: There were some dramatic finishes in NEC soccer this past weekend as three teams scored deciding goals in the final 15 minutes of play. Central Connecticut pulled out all the stops in its game against St. Francis (NY) as NEC Co-Rookie of the Week Ben Knight turned away the thought of overtime when he found the back of the net with just 21 seconds remaining, lifting the Blue Devils to a 3-2 win. Tied 0-0, Quinnipiac broke the ice against Bryant with two scores in the final seven minutes. William Daniels (Clackamas, OR/Mount Ida College) netted the game-winner at the 83:31 mark and Justin Ward (New Egypt, NJ/Princeton Day School) tacked on some insurance with 27 seconds remaining in the 2-0 win. Robert Morris got its first NEC win when NEC Co-Rookie of the Week Bruce Cullen blasted home his first game-winner of his career with 14:26 to play, downing Saint Francis (PA) by a 1-0 count.
NIFTY 50: Head coach Eric Da Costa earned his 50th career victory at Quinnipiac when his team defeated Bryant, 2-0, on Sunday. The win also moved his team’s record to 5-5-2 on the season, 3-1-1 in league play.
BOLAJI TAKES OVER SECOND PLACE IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Toba Bolaji (Vaughn, Ontario/Maple) made nine saves as Robert Morris blanked Saint Francis (PA), 1-0. It marked his fourth shutout of 2012 and gave him sole possession of second place in the career shutouts category at RMU with 16 clean sheets to his resume.
NOTABLE PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK
BRETT LAROCQUE (BRYANT) Larocque scored two goals in the Bulldogs’ win over LIU Brooklyn, 4-1. He currently leads the team in goals with six.
TOBA BOLAJI (ROBERT MORRIS) Bolaji made nine saves, including a point-blank stop in the 13th minute, as the Colonials got their first NEC win of the season in the form of a 1-0 decision over Saint Francis (PA). Additionally, it marked his fourth shutout of the season and 16th career at RMU.
JACOB LISSEK (FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON) Lissek posted back-to-back shutouts over Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut, 1-0 and 2-0. He made four saves over the weekend and has allowed just one goal over his last four games.
FRANCOIS “PACO” NAVARRO (MONMOUTH) Navarro scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Monmouth’s 3-0 win at Quinnipiac. He netted the game-winner just 6:09 into the contest and tacked on an insurance goal in the 50th minute.
KEVIN CORREA (ST. FRANCIS (NY)) Correa scored two goals in his team’s setback to Central Connecticut, 3-2, last Friday. The team and conference leader in nearly every offensive category, he has nine goals and 20 points on the season.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“We made late work but got the job done against a much improved Bryant squad,” said Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa, who earned his 50th career victory at QU in the win. “It was important for us to have a positive response and bounce back today. We did it and it was a complete team effort.”
“This was an extremely solid effort by the guys,” Head Coach Seth Roland said. “We were very sharp in attack, especially in the first half with our two goals and another unlucky shot that hit both posts before being cleared. Central is a very talented and dangerous attacking team and yet defensively we were rock solid, and it was great to get our second clean sheet in a row and third in four games. It was important to come away with three points today and six for the weekend.”
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Nick Walker, junior defender, Fairleigh Dickinson
@walker1306: Champions aren't made in a gym! They're made from a dream.... From a vision! We got that vision fellas! Top of the league! @Yo_Goddey