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Jaaskelainen and Sharks extend streaks

Junior striker scores goal in fifth consecutive LIU victory

September 28, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Junior striker Emil Jaaskelainen and the Long Island University men’s soccer club will both be riding impressive streaks into Thursday afternoon’s match against Sacred Heart in Brookville, N.Y.

Jaaskelainen, making his bid for Northeast Conference Player of the Year honors after earning First Team All-NEC honors in 2021, has scored in five consecutive contests, each coinciding with a win by the reigning NEC champion Sharks.

That five-game run and Jaaskelainen’s five-game goal streak will be on the line when the Sharks (7-2, 1-0 NEC) try to build on Sunday’s 1-0 victory at LIU Soccer Park in their league opener vs. Central Connecticut State.

Jaaskelainen scored on a penalty kick in the 67th minute after a handball by CCSU’s Kyle Halehale and goalkeeper Gianluca Cersosimo put up a clean sheet as LIU remained unbeaten since a 3-2 loss at Hofstra on Sept. 7.

The Sharks, preseason favorites to repeat as the league’s representative in the NCAA College Cup, have outscored their opponents by a staggering 11-1 count during their best run since reeling off six straight wins from Sept. 21-Oct. 14, 2021.

Jaaskelainen, who just missed on a header earlier in Sunday’s match and sent one just wide off his left foot in the closing minutes against the Blue Devils (2-6, 0-1), has scored once in each of the five contests during his streak and leads the Sharks with seven goals overall this year.

NEC Rookie of the Week Martin Palinic scored his third goal of the year as SFC Brooklyn won its third straight game vs. Howard at Brooklyn Bridge Park Sunday. Photo courtesy of SFC Brooklyn Athletics

He amassed 15 goals in 21 contests last season, when the Sharks won an NCAA Tournament game vs. Maryland following their run through the conference.

While the Sharks are again atop the NEC heap, their arch rivals from St. Francis Brooklyn are quietly putting together an impressive run of their own.

Khaled Abdella, Sokol Ymeraj, Mohamed Shour, reigning NEC Rookie of the Week Martin Palinic, Badr Mesrar and Michele Signorelli each scored a goal Sunday as the Terriers posted their season-high third win in a row with a 6-0 triumph over Howard in their league opener at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Alec McLachlan posted his second consecutive shutout for SFC (4-3-1, 1-0), which enjoyed its largest margin of victory since 2003 and scored the most goals in any NEC game since 2021.

Palinic, a native of Melbourne, Australia, became the second Terrier to earn Rookie of the Week honors this season, joining Caleb Danquah. He tallied his third goal of the season vs. Howard and also set up Mesrar’s goal and was pulled down in the box to give Ymeraj his penalty-shot goal.

The Terriers will be seeking their first four-game winning streak since a season-high six-game run last October when they visit Stonehill in Easton, Massachusetts Thursday afternoon.

The SFC ladies (1-5-3, 0-2) saw their season-high winless streak reach six games with Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Fairleigh Dickinson.

Maya Madjercic scored the lone goal for the Terriers in the 83rd minute, but SFC fell to 0-4-2 during its slide.

Klil Keshwar had a season high-tying eight saves for the Terriers, who will look to get back in the win column for

the first time since Aug. 25 when they host CCSU at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Thursday.

Things went much better for the LIU women’s club last Thursday as the Sharks opened their NEC slate with a 2-1 win over Stonehill in Easton, ending a season-high seven-game (0-5-2) winless streak.

Senior Nevaeh Rascon scored her second goal in as many weeks off a free kick for the go-ahead tally and also assisted on Taylor Curcio’s header as the Sharks (3-6-2, 1-1-1) got to celebrate a victory for the first time since a 1-0 win over Saint Peter’s in Brookville on Aug. 25.

Taylor Curcio helped LIU end a season-high seven-game winless skid last Thursday at Stonehill. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics

“When I stepped up to take the free kick, I knew it was within range to put it on frame,” Rascon said of her tiebreaking score. “We needed a goal to come out on top, and my team was all over them trying to get the win.”

The Sharks will try to make it two wins in a row and extend their unbeaten streak to three when they visit Merrimack in Massachusetts on Thursday.

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