Terriers, Sharks poised to chase NEC title
SFC and LIU men's soccer clubs nearing 2022 campaign
The reigning Northeast Conference champion Long Island University men’s soccer club and its arch Downtown rival, St. Francis Brooklyn, are a few weeks away from beginning their annual quests to grab a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The Sharks, who not only won the NEC crown but beat Maryland in the national championship tournament before bowing out to Saint Louis University, will begin practicing early next month in advance of their season opener Aug. 25 vs. Stony Brook at LIU Soccer Park in Brookville, N.Y.
The Terriers, who will also kick off the 2022 season at UMass-Lowell on Aug. 25, lost a heartbreaker to LIU in the NEC Championship match, suffering a 2-1 loss via a 6-5 defeat in an epic tiebreaker.
The defeat denied SFC a shot at its seventh NEC title in the past decade, and left long-time head coach Tom Giovatto wanting another shot at the Sharks this year.
“Off of an incredible season that left us hungry for greater success, I am eager for our team to take the field for the 2022 slate,” said Giovatto, who guided the Terriers to an NCAA Tournament win over Milwaukee two seasons ago before SFC got ousted by Indiana in a penalty kick shootout.
The Sharks boast a returning standout in midfielder Matthias Heiland, who earned a spot on the NEC All-Rookie squad before getting in shape for this season by working at youth camps throughout the summer.
Heiland scored a pair of goals during his freshman season, with each proving to be the game-winning tally against La Salle and Mount St. Mary’s, respectively.
The 20-year-old German previously played on his country’s Under-17 unit and saw action against Youssoufa Moukoko, a star for Borussia Dortmund.
“I played in a tournament when I was young, similar to what you would do in the United States,” Heiland told the school’s website.
“It was very high-level. I liked it very much,” he added. “It was twice-a-day training, very high intensity. I’m very thankful for that experience early in my career.”
Giovatto and the 2021 NEC Coaching Staff of the Year will lead the team into its home opener Aug. 29 at Brooklyn Bridge Park vs. La Salle.
The Terriers and Sharks will continue their tradition of closing out the regular season in the Downtown Darby on Nov. 3 in Brooklyn Heights.
Winners of nine of the last 10 NEC titles combined, it wouldn’t be a surprise if SFC and LIU meet again for the right to represent our borough in the NCAAs.
In local pro sports news, the Brooklyn Nets revealed their four-game preseason schedule on Monday.
The Nets, who are still waiting to see if general manager Sean Marks can deal away Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or both this summer, will begin their quest toward the 2022-23 campaign on Oct. 3 vs. Philadelphia here at Barclays before an Oct. 6 home showdown with the Miami Heat.
Brooklyn will hit the road Oct. 12 at Milwaukee and Oct. 14 at Minnesota.
Nets season ticket memberships and mini-plans are on sale now. To learn more and view options, visit brooklynnets.com. Single game tickets for home games at Barclays will go on sale at a later date.
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