Bona men fall short to Hartford

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

The St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team fell short in a 1-0 loss to the Hartford Hawks on Sunday. his loss brings the Bonnies season record to 1-3. 

Hartford was the first to tally one on the scoreboard, as it scored its first goal in the 11th minute of the first half.  

The Bonnies had many opportunities to score throughout the first half, but none resulted in a goal.  

Junior midfielder Fredrik Hansen had a very good look in the 36thminute, but it was blocked on its way to the net.  

Hansen led the team with two shots in the game. Despite their lack of scoring, the Bonnies outshot the Hawks 7-3 in the first half.  

The second half would result in more of the same for the Bonnies. 

The Hawks would not let the Bonnies score, however, allowing just two shots throughout the second half. There were also some opportunities for Hartford to score, but the Bonnies defense made sure none of them would make it past the goalkeeper.  

The Bonnies accumulated nine shots on the day, outshooting the Hawks, who had six shots. 

The Bonnies have scored just two goals in their first four games of the season. Head coach Kwame Oduro talked about their inefficiency scoring after the game.  

“We have to just be a little more composed in front of goal,” he said. “We’ve got to keep being positive and hopefully the ball will start going into the net for us.” 

The Bonnies will be hosting Little Three rival Canisius on Sept. 17.  

In their preparation for their Tuesday game, coach Oduro said, “What we can do on Monday is just make sure we get the lactic acid out from our boys and then kind of walk through and get ready for Canisius which is another tough game.” 

The Bonnies will look to add a win to their record under the lights, as the game’s start time is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

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Men’s soccer: Bonnies down Dayton in overtime thriller

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The last sequence of St. Bonaventure’s 1-0 overtime victory over Dayton on Senior Night had just about everything: controversy and chaos, agony and exultation, all in an 18-yard box.

Was Dayton’s deflection of sophomore midfielder Kosi Nwafornso’s initial shot a handball that would have resulted in a penalty kick? Did the game-winning goal by Nwaforno’s classmate, Isaiah Wilson, actually go in?

Bona coach Kwame Oduro certainly thought the answer to both questions was yes.

“We’re glad that a bounce went our way, for the first time,” Oduro said with a laugh.

With a little over three minutes in OT, Nwafornso unleashed the shot that referee Dino Sorbara determined had not been stopped with a Flyer hand. The ball found its way to junior mid Kieran Toland, whose shot was also blocked. Dayton was not able to clear the ball on either occasion, setting Wilson up for another opportunity.

The third time was the charm, as Wilson’s shot rattled off the crossbar and found its way over the line for just long enough before caroming back out.

Sorbara and his assistants conferred to make sure they had gotten the call correct, then confirmed it with a “good goal” signal.

A frenzy ensued as the players ran around the field mobbing each other and Dayton coach Dennis Currier emphatically argued the call, to no avail. Senior defender Bonaventure Akinlosotu was one of the most fired up fourth-year guys, dancing around and high-fiving everyone watching from the fence. The 6-foot-3 Akinlosotu missed a large portion of time to injury over his career, but was a major factor in the victory, providing an immediate boost the instant he entered the contest.

Somewhere in the scrum, sophomore goalkeeper Luke Iacobellis was receiving some well-deserved recognition for keeping the brown and white level throughout regulation. The Toronto native made seven saves, all crucial to preserving a tie until overtime.

With 15 minutes remaining in the second half, Dayton freshman forward Bennett Lehner was able to get past the defense in the attacking third and find himself on a breakaway. Iacobellis came out of his net to meet Lehner, and was able to stop the shot with his foot to extinguish the best chance of the game for either side.

Kick save and a beauty. Kick save and a potential season saver.

“He made three or four saves that actually kept us in the game,” Oduro said. “I think he had a complete performance today.”

Last year, the Bonnies lost six one-goal games. This year, they have won three of that variety.

“I think we’re starting to mature as a group, and when you mature and get experience as a group these games go your way sometimes,” Oduro said.

Oduro described the victory as a gift to seniors Akinlosotu, Eddie Keen, Matthew Lane and Noel Orozco for the hard work and dedication they gave to Bonaventure soccer.

“We told them, there’s no gift we can give you that’s going to be worthy of winning the game today and making it into the A-10 playoffs,” he said. “I told our team, if you’re ever tired, think about those seniors and what they mean to this program. We gave them a gift that no one can ever take away from them.”

The second gift, a trip to the A-10 Tournament, is becoming within reach. Bona is now in a four-way tie for the fifth spot with Duquesne, Fordham and VCU and two points ahead of eighth-place UMass. The top eight teams qualify for the tournament. Three conference games remain, the next being a home match against George Washington on Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s not done yet… the A-10’s wide open,” Oduro acknowledged. “Our team, we only care about what we can do.

“People will write you off any day. (The team is) doing the right things, playing the right way, and it’s going to go in your favor sometimes.”

Soccer: Stats and facts entering conference play

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

As September readies to give way to October, non-conference soccer action is about to give way to conference play.

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s soccer teams were both handed the lowest of expectations by league coaches in the preseason, as both were picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10.

The Bona men did not dispel the coaches’ lack of confidence in the first month, going 1-7-1 and scoring just five goals. Davidson and Saint Louis are the only other A-10 teams to have only one victory, but those teams played multiple power conference opponents. SBU’s 1-0 win over Niagara showed the team has potential to win close games.

The women aren’t title contenders, but they did score 10 goals in a two-game stretch as part of a 15-goal, three-win non-conference slate. They were shut out in three consecutive games after that scoring barrage, but a 2-1 win in their last contest against Bryant got them back on track for the time being.

Here are some notable stats and facts as the Bonaventure teams enter the A-10 schedule:

Leading scorers: Junior Danielle Vis leads the women in goals with four, while freshman Jacob Dyck and junior Kieran Toland lead the men with two each.

Keepers: A Bona goalie tops each A-10 saves per game leaderboard. Sophomore Luke Iacobellis has averaged 5.83 saves per match, while freshman Lauren Malcolm is averaging 5.44 stops per contest. Malcolm also leads in overall saves with 49.

Improvements: Two returning women’s players have already scored more than last year. Sophomore Marley Jarvis did not score in her freshman season but has three goals in the 2016 campaign, second on the team. Junior Alex Pochop registered the first goal of her career in the win over Niagara on Sept. 4.

Road woes: The teams are a combined 0-9 away from the Marra Athletic Complex this season.

First goal importance: The men have allowed the first goal in six of their seven losses. The women have scored first in all three of their wins.

Coming attractions: The first four teams the men face (St. Joe’s, Duquesne, Davidson and UMass) have a combined record of 11-22-3. The first four teams the women face (George Mason, George Washington, Duquesne and Fordham) have combined to go 21-12-3.

67 percent of international SBU undergraduate students are athletes

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Before the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team faced Bucknell, the Bona sports information department found a creative way to tweet out the starting 11:

When you have five countries represented in your lineup, why not throw some flag emojis in there?

The team has 12 players who were born outside of the United States, or 41 percent of its roster. There are five players from Canada, two from England, and one each from Ghana, Nigera, Scotland, Spain and Hong Kong.

According to Tom Missel, SBU’s Director of Media Relations, there are 49 undergraduate international students at SBU and 33 are Division I athletes: 12 male soccer players, six male tennis players, five female tennis players, three male basketball players, three baseball players, three female soccer players and one female swimmer.

There were also 33 international undergrad student-athletes the last time we did a story on this in 2011, but there were 11 fewer total international students; only five were not athletes.

Men’s soccer coach Kwame Oduro, who was born in Accra, Ghana and grew up in Toronto, said the United States was the obvious choice for soccer players who want to go to college.

“Every good soccer player that wants an education wants to come to America,” he said. “There is no country in the world that combines athletics and academics like the U.S. So if you want the experience of playing high level soccer, receiving a degree and possibly playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS), America is the best place to go.”

Men’s soccer junior midfielder Kieran Toland, a Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland native, came to Bonaventure after completing a year of college back home. He wanted to keep playing, but going pro in Scotland is a tough proposition.

“One of my buddies actually came over before me, and he told me it was the best thing he’d ever done,” he said. “So I looked into it, found a company and I went and did the trial with them. Then I told my mom and dad about it after and they thought it was a great idea and loved the thought of it.”

Out of the D-I offers Toland received, Bonaventure stood out thanks to Mel Mahler, Oduro’s predecessor, who made it clear he really wanted him. When Toland started as a freshman, there were only four international players on the team. Now, that number has tripled.

“It’s a great experience and was the best choice,” Toland said. “There are so many athletes now who want to come to America and play for a school like Bonaventure.”

 

Men’s soccer: Once again, Toland helps lead the pack

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

For a moment around the 25th minute of Sunday’s 1-1 tie against Bucknell, St. Bonaventure feared junior captain Kieran Toland’s season was in jeopardy.

Sophomore midfielder Remi Dujardin played a ball across to Toland, who stretched out for it and stood on top of the ball. His other foot got stuck in the turf and his knee jerked out of place. He whacked the ground in anger as he grabbed the knee.

Somehow, someway, the Scottish star got off the ground and walked to the sideline on his own power. He didn’t need to be substituted out.

“It was just one of those that hurts for like the first 20 seconds and then after that it was okay,” he said. “I just had to run up and down the line a couple times and then I was fine.”

It ended up being the best-case scenario. Not only was coach Kwame Oduro’s leader able to stay in the match, he ended up scoring the game-tying penalty kick with just over 20 seconds to play in regulation.

“When we got to the penalty, initially I went to take it and Kyle (Kleckner) came over and was screaming at me, ‘let me take it, let me take it,'” he said.

“I was like, ‘sure, you can have it’ and then Kwame’s shouting at me, ‘You take it, you take it,’ so I stepped up and just put it in the back of the net.”

The goal was a fresh change for a team that has lost by one 12 times over the last two seasons. Avoiding the 13th avoided a ninth loss in the last ten games dating back to last year.

“I was just trying to get that goal, which we’ve been lacking the last couple of years,” Toland said. “It’s all just about putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Continue reading “Men’s soccer: Once again, Toland helps lead the pack”

Men’s soccer: Bonnies honor seniors, drop close contest to Saint Louis

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

A goal in the 12th minute of action proved to be the difference as Saint Louis slipped past the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team on Bona’s Senior Day at the Marra Athletics Field Complex on Saturday.

Prior to the game, St. Bonaventure honored its six seniors- Bobby Diaz, Ryan Zebuth, Jimmy Barrios, Breno Calegari, Mitch Skrabacz and Michael Pingelski.

The Billikens (8-5-2, 4-1-2 Atlantic 10) set up what would be the game-winning play after being awarded a corner kick early in the first half. St. Louis’ Joe Saad found Vince Cicciarelli, who blasted a header into the upper left corner of the net and past Bona goalkeeper Bobby Diaz.

Continue reading “Men’s soccer: Bonnies honor seniors, drop close contest to Saint Louis”

Men’s soccer: Bonnies fall to visiting Canisius

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

Visiting Canisius (3-3-1) tallied an early goal and controlled the remainder of the game as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over St. Bonaventure (1-7-0). This is not the outcome Bonnies coach Kwame Oduro was hoping for as he faced his former school, where he served as the assistant coach for four years.

Bonaventure goaltender Bobby Diaz’s voice echoed against the hills behind the Marra Athletics Field Complex as he attempted to rally his team, but Bonaventure came out flat.  The Bonnies struggled to maintain possession and were consistently beat to 50/50 balls.

The Golden Griffins added their second score of the afternoon when Evan Walsh found the back of the net to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Nicolo Baudo extended the lead with his second goal of the day when a foul set up a free kick opportunity at the top of the box in the 62nd minute of action. The Bonnies’ wall separated, allowing the ball to squeeze through untouched.

The Bonnies were outshot 15-5 on the day.  Kosi Nwafornso added two shots and Bobby Diaz made seven saves.

 St. Bonaventure will head to Pennsylvania on Friday to take on St. Francis.

College Sports Madness recognizes four soccer players

By Chuckie Maggio

When it comes to awards and recognition, the St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s soccer teams have been about as underrated as the scarves women’s coach Steve Brdarski wears on the sidelines.

However, the Bonnies received a well-deserved piece of the spotlight earlier this month. A male player and three female players were named to the Atlantic 10 Soccer Preseason All-Conference teams by CollegeSportsMadness.com.

The sole recipient on the men’s team was senior defender Garrett Pasono, who was named to the second team. He is coming off of a fantastic 2013 season in which he started all 19 games, scored three goals and helped anchor a strong defense that allowed just 30 goals all season.

“It’s very humbling to be considered (for the award) and I’m proud to be a representative for the school and team,” Pasono said. “I’m excited for the season to start and am looking forward to seeing the new faces.”

“We have a pretty tough schedule ahead of us but the ultimate goal is to get to the postseason. Anything can happen from there,” he concluded.

On the women’s side, senior midfielder Brittany Charles was named to the first team, while senior forward Molly Curry and senior defender Alicia Elwell were named to the second.

Charles, who started all 19 games in 2013, has molded into an excellent distributor for this Bonnies squad, with 21 career assists. Her 10 assists last year were one shy of the school’s single-season record shared by alums Patty Boyle, Lisa Deil and Trish Quinn. One of every three goals the Bonnies scored last season was set up by Charles.

“(Brittany’s) ability to take players on 1 v. 1 and deliver great passes is very important to our team,” Brdarski said. “She is in the record books and we are hoping for her to continue that this upcoming season. She has the drive to really help our team attack, and we will look to use that.”

Curry also started all 19 games for the Bonnies last year and scored eight goals, good for a tie with Alyssa Lapp for the team lead as well as fifth-most in the Atlantic 10. Three of the eight were game-winning goals against Canisius, VCU and La Salle, adding to her career total of seven game-winners.

Continue reading “College Sports Madness recognizes four soccer players”