Late rally extends St. Francis’ soccer winning streak
Terriers Score Twice in Final Five Minutes at Sacred Heart
Junior netminder Jack Binks gave up his first goal in seven games and the defending Northeast Conference champion St. Francis Terriers were down a score with five minutes to play last Friday night in Fairfield, Conn.
In other words, the end of the run was near.
Then, somehow, they again found a way to extend their ongoing unbeaten streak, this time to eight games by pulling out a stunning 2-1 victory over Sacred Heart in their first league contest since grabbing the NEC crown last year.
“It was a tough game today,” Terriers head coach Tom Giovatto readily admitted. “Sacred Heart played a great game and made it very difficult for us.”
That difficulty began just under 10 minutes into the contest when Sacred Heart’s Mahmoud Kafel took advantage of an SFC turnover along the backline and chipped a shot over Binks for an early 1-0 lead.
Binks, who finished with four saves in the contest, hadn’t yielded a single tally in nearly 600 minutes of playing time over the Terriers’ previous six contests.
Though they outshot the winless Pioneers, 12-8, the Terriers (6-4-2) were unable to find the back of the net over the next 70-plus minutes and appeared headed for an 0-1 mark in conference play after securing their first NEC championship in 15 years a season ago.
But with less than four minutes to go, junior John Makaya intercepted a poor throw-in by Sacred Heart and drove home his team-leading seventh goal to secure at worst a 1-1 deadlock for the visitors.
Overtime appeared to be in St. Francis’ immediate future before freshman Adrian Cosovic challenged Pioneers goalie Tucker Hackett on a long service in the box, forcing a turnover and allowing sophomore midfielder Salvatore Barone of Bay Ridge’s Xaverian High School to stuff home the game-winner on a tap-in.
Junior forward Phillip Shafer was credited with his second assist in less than three minutes as the Terriers killed off the final 51 seconds before improving to 6-0-2 in their last eight contests.
“I’m very proud of the guys for battling and finding a way to win the game,” Giovatto noted as his team prepared to visit Loretto, Pa., on Friday for another NEC showdown against St. Francis (Pa.).
Though his scoreless streak came to an end, Binks still played an important role in the Terriers’ triumph, according to Giovatto.
“Jack made a huge save that allowed us to come back and tie the game,” Giovatto said.
The reigning CUNYAC women’s soccer champs from Brooklyn College were outscored 8-0 in dropping their previous two games, amping up the pressure for Saturday afternoon’s league contest against visiting Lehman at BC Field.
Third-year coach Patrick Horne’s team responded in fine fashion, cruising to a 3-0 win behind goals by junior Sayla Flores, sophomore Jordan Kerwin and senior Bergelle Louis.
Freshman Rebecca Marmata made three saves for the Bulldogs (4-6), who improved to 3-0 in CUNYAC action after winning the title as a second-year program in 2013.
Freshman Isabelle Lalami had a nice assist on Kerwin’s goal as BC improved to 3-1 at home this season.
“Today was a much nedded bounce back win following some tough losses,” Horne said. “The team realized the urgency of today’s game against a league opponent and executed well.”
The Bulldogs will be back on the pitch Thursday when they host SUNY Old Westbury in a non-conference clash at 5 p.m.
The LIU-Brooklyn women’s volleyball team made it 37 straight victories against NEC opponents with Sunday afternoon’s straight-set (25-20, 25-9, 25-19) triumph over Central Connecticut State at Downtown’s Steinberg Wellness Center.
Junior Tamara Ignjic led the way with 17 kills and senior Annika Foit and Mengdi Zhao added 10 apiece for the Blackbirds (14-5, 5-0 NEC), who were quarterbacked to perfection by senior setter Vera Djuric’s 41 assists.
LIU will have to continue its conference dominance on the road this weekend as it visits St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday before facing Robert Morris Sunday.
The Blackbirds, who have won eight of the previous 10 league titles, including the last two in a row, haven’t lost a conference match since the 2011 NEC Final against Sacred Heart.
In case you missed it, the Nets played Sacramento again in China early Wednesday morning, pulling out a 129-117 overtime victory behind 22 points from Mirza Teletovic, who hit the game-winning shot earlier this week when the Brooklyn beat the Kings in Shanghai.
Nets coach Lionel Hollins returned to the bench after missing Sunday’s game due to illness and Mason Plumlee finished with 18 points off the bench for Brooklyn, which will host Boston at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Barclays Center.
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