Fairfield, CT- The Sacred Heart University Men’s Club Soccer team wrapped up their Spring schedule having qualified for the NEPL Playoffs in Lowell Massachusetts where they would eventually finish tied for third place with Harvard University. Making it to the Semi-finals of a competitive competition is the best result in the programs history, marking a turning point for the program to hopefully continue carrying on into the Fall 2019 season in a positive direction.
The Spring season is used as a developing point, where the team can develop systems, formations, and tactics in a way that could help introduce positive changes in the Fall season. While it is untraditional to hold a full Spring season for club sports, the men’s club soccer team can also stake claim to having completed their first full Spring season. The program was able to hold many training sessions to work on tactical adjustments, hold recruiting opportunities for wishful players on the team, and generate and understanding of what it means to play playoff soccer.
Final Record: 5W – 3L – 0T
3/3/19 – SHU @ CCSU CANCELED
3/9/19 – SHU @ Fairfield 3-0 W by forfeit
3/9/19 – SHU @ University of New Haven (UNH) 3-2 W
4/6/19 – NEPL League SHU vs WPI 3-0 W by forfeit
4/6/19 – NEPL League SHU vs Clark University 3-0 W by forfeit
4/7/19 - SHU @ #1 Fordham 4-1 L
4/13/19 – NEPL League SHU @ Wesleyan 3-2 W
4/13/19 – NEPL League SHU @ Wesleyan vs Amherst College 2-0 L
5/5/19 – NEPL League Playoffs Semi-final @ UMASS Lowell vs Tufts 4-0L
The NEPL Semi-final was a very tough match up, with the team prepped to play a 3-5-2 the team needed to adjust immediately as the back line was getting exposed far too often only 5-10 minutes into the game, having to deal with the three forward from Tufts at any given time. As soon as the 4 defenders were added, and the system was changed to a 4-4-2, it created a platform for stability very visibly through the first half only conceding one goal before the halftime whistle and very clearly still in the match.
The second half appeared to be a lack of fitness, loss in personal battles on the pitch, and straying away from the systems and plans put into place in the week prior. Senior goalkeeper Christian Rodriguez kept the team in the game best as possible before the inevitable finishes from Tufts occurred. Generating an attack was far and few due to the lack of ability to play out from the back with pace and efficiency. Additionally, lacking the ability to get the ball to center forward’s feet such as senior Rob Allingham was the team’s kryptonite leading up to the final whistle. Freshman center forward Phil Ferranola missed an unfortunate point-blank opportunity in front of the opposition’s frame as Rob Allingham combined nicely to create the opportunity. It grew increasingly obvious that the lack of scoring opportunities in the attacking and final third of the pitch would be the team’s demise.
Although the team did not receive the results they ideally hoped for, the spirits of the guys was very high. They understood the piece of history they all would be etched as in a crucial turning point for the men’s club soccer program, accomplishing many milestones through the Fall and Spring season’s that hadn’t been done previously. Understanding the stepping stones in the program’s progression has been a crucial learning point for the young players as many of the returning upperclassmen made them all aware the work would not end in the Spring of 2019, but rather be a platform to continue growing come future seasons; a massive testament to the upperclassmen and what they mean to the program’s lifeline.
Please keep an eye out for future SHU Men’s Club Soccer news and updates, there is surely exciting thing to come!