Terriers take conference opener in D.C.
Begin title defense with 1-0 blanking of Howard University
Two days after receiving their championship rings, the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s soccer team officially got back to the business of winning the Northeast Conference again in 2021.
Senior El Mahdi Youssoufi’s late second-half goal lifted the defending NEC champion Terriers to a 1-0 victory over Howard University on Sunday in front of 504 fans at Greene Stadium in our nation’s capital.
SFC (3-3-1, 1-0 NEC) has won consecutive games for the first time this year and will be bidding for a third victory in a row Thursday afternoon vs. Bryant at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The Terriers will do so in a four-team deadlock for the top spot in the conference, though neighborhood rival Long Island University (5-2-2, 1-0 NEC) boasts the best record in the league as the NEC schedule kicks into high gear.
SFC didn’t appear as if it would escape Washington, D.C., with a victory despite outshooting the Bison (1-3-2, 0-1 NEC) 13-6 and holding an 8-4 edge in corner kicks.
But that all changed when Youssoufi took a pass from junior Badr Mesrar in the 83rd minute and deposited in the net behind Howard netminder Emery Simon for the game’s lone tally.
Sophomore David Santiago made only one save for the shutout as the Terriers got back to the .500 mark with their third victory in four contests since a disappointing 1-3-1 start to the campaign.
Winners of five of the previous eight NEC crowns, the Terriers are favorites to repeat as champions, but the Sharks clearly have other ideas.
LIU edged Central Connecticut State 1-0 in its NEC opener, nipping the Blue Devils on NEC Player of the Week Andre Puente’s goal in the 79th minute off a pass from fellow sophomore Assane Ben Fall in front of 561 fans at CCSU Soccer Field.
Junior goalie Demetri Skoumbakis had three saves for the Sharks, who improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games and will try to extend their unbeaten streak Thursday afternoon at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Puente has scored in back-to-back games, including the opening tally in last week’s 4-0 blanking of Manhattan.
Just a few months removed from their NEC championship match, which saw SFC edge LIU in a penalty kick shootout, the Terriers and Sharks appear headed for yet another major showdown on Nov. 7 in Brookville, N.Y., where the schools will meet for their regular-season finale.
Between now and then, SFC and LIU will doubtlessly be checking one another’s scores and hoping that they can meet again for the right to represent the conference in the NCAA College Cup, where the Terries made an historic run to the second round last season.
The SFC women remained unbeaten in conference play with Sunday’s thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over NEC rival Merrimack at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Junior midfielder Margaret Motolese snapped the tie in the 98th minute with her first collegiate goal.
Senior Mia Rose Daly also scored for the Terriers (4-3-4), who improved to a league-best 2-0-1 in conference play entering Thursday afternoon’s visit to Sacred Heart.
Junior keeper Klil Keshwar made seven huge saves for SFC, keeping the Warriors (1-6-2, 1-1 NEC) at bay until Motolese’s golden goal settled matters.
“Today wasn’t our best collective performance, but the team grinded it out until the final whistle,” SFC head coach Justine Lombardi said.
“A few of the players stepped it up today to help us secure this victory. Celebrate today, but we’re focused on our next contest.”.
The LIU ladies (0-4-2, 0-1-1 NEC) are still seeking their first win of the year following Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson in Brookville.
Junior goalie Kayla DeTreux had four saves for the Sharks, but was unable to stop Naemi Hausen’s penalty kick in the 12th minute.
LIU will take another shot at its initial victory Thursday evening at Howard.
Over at Brooklyn College, the ladies’ soccer squad suffered a 2-1 loss to St. Joseph’s Brooklyn on Monday night at Randalls Island.
Sophomore defender Priscilla Vixama scored her first career goal and junior Angelina Vasta made five saves for the winless Bulldogs (0-7), who were scheduled to host Purchase on Wednesday.
The BC men also fell to 0-7 on the season with last week’s 4-1 loss to visiting Albertus Magnus.
Junior Daouda Illiassou scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, who will begin the CUNYAC portion of their schedule Wednesday at Lehman in the Bronx.
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