NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – The Niagara men’s soccer team earned its first home win of the 2016 season with a gutsy win over the Manhattan Jaspers. Saiaz Saenz scored his second goal of the season with an assist from Fabrizio Chiari to give Niagara the 1-0 win Saturday afternoon at Niagara Field. Steve Casey earned his fourth clean sheet of the season in goal, making four stops against the Jaspers.
· Final Score: Niagara 1, Manhattan 0
· Niagara Goal Scorers: Saiaz Saenz (36’)
· Niagara Assists: Fabrizio Chiari
· In Goal: Steve Casey (4-10-1) – 0 GA, 4 SV
· Records: Niagara (4-11-1, 3-6-0 MAAC), Manhattan (1-12-3, 1-6-2 MAAC)
· Location: Niagara Field – Niagara Univ., N.Y.
· Attendance: 167
· The Purple Eagles came out flying offensively to start the match, ending the first half with an 8-2 lead in shots.
· Zulfikar Karimi had the first chance of the game on a long shot from 20 yards out to the right of the goal, but his shot sailed over the goal. Seven minutes later, Bautista Pedezert had an opportunity from the same spot off of a set piece, but his shot went high as well.
· Niagara opened the scoring with a goal in the 36th minute from Saiaz Saenz. Fabrizio Chiari worked the ball in from the left sideline, finding Saenz streaking in on goal. Saenz beat the last Manhattan defender with speed, and his shot caught the inside of the right post far-side.
· Casey made a pair of saves to keep the Niagara lead at 1-0 through 45 minutes of play.
· The Jaspers held possession for the majority of the second half, earning a 9-4 advantage in shots over Niagara.
· Manhattan’s Fabian Burnett took four of the Jaspers’ nine shots in the half, coming close to tying the game on a header in the 72nd minute that rang off the crossbar and over the net.
· Chiari and Pedezert each put shots on goal in the second half for the Purple Eagles, but neither was able to find the back of the net.
· As time wound down on the second half, Manhattan’s Troy Carrington found a loose ball to the left of the Niagara goal. He got a shot off as the final seconds ticked down, but Borna Juracic blocked the ball away to seal the 1-0 win for the Purple Eagles.
· Head coach Bill Boyle: “I am so proud of these guys. With the effort they put in today, they deserved to get this win on their home field. We came out strong in the first half, and getting that first goal was exactly what they needed. As a team, we feel that we have a lot of momentum going into Wednesday’s match against Canisius.”
Inside the Numbers
· Niagara is now 3-0 in the 2016 season when scoring the first goal of the match. The Purple Eagles took a 4-0 win over Robert Morris to open the season on Aug. 26, and they scored the lone goal in a 1-0 overtime victory at Quinnipiac on Sept. 25.
· Saenz scored his second game-winning goal of the season. He also scored the deciding tally in Niagara’s last win, an 86th-minute strike to complete a 2-1, come-from-behind win at Fairfield on Oct. 15.
· Niagara had an 8-2 edge in shots in the first half, while Manhattan held a 9-4 advantage in the second half. Each team put two shots on goal in both the first and second halves. With the 12-11 edge in total shots for the match, Bautista Pedezert tied a match-high with four shots for Niagara.
· The Purple Eagles also finished the afternoon with a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
· Casey’s shutout in goal was his fourth of the season and sixth of his Niagara career.
· The home win was the first for the Purple Eagles since a 4-0 victory over St. Bonaventure on Sept. 17, 2015.
· Niagara wraps up the regular season against the Canisius Golden Griffins on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. The annual Battle of the Bridge match will also be Senior Night, and the team will honor Fabrizio Chiari, Shiquan Lowe, and Konrad Zydowicz prior to kickoff.
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