NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. - Senior Rene De Zorzi
capitalized on a late penalty kick opportunity to lead the Niagara men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds, and its first conference win of the season on a rainy Friday evening at Niagara Field.
With less than 10 minutes left in the contest, a Greyhound (5-5-1; 0-1-0 MAAC) handball in the box lead to a Purple Eagle (7-0-3; 1-0-0 MAAC) penalty kick. De Zorzi was called to the line and his low right placement gave NU the 2-1 lead, and fourth straight win. The goal was De Zorzi's career-high third tally of the season, and his second penalty kick marker of the year.
"Loyola is a fantastic team and a great program with a great history," head coach Chase Brooks
said. "Our guys did tremendously well to battle against that and overcome the odds to get the result. I'm so proud of the guys. They worked very hard and now it's about focusing on Rider and working on getting the next result. The one thing we never want is to settle. We're going to keep plugging away, moving forward and finding ways to win."
Fairfield was the first to get on the board, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at the 35th minute. Larry Ndjock picked up a loose ball in the box and tucked it past Purple Eagle goalkeeper Brett Petricek
for his seventh goal of the year.
Niagara took little time bringing the contest level after a solid effort from Ken Cooper
The junior midfielder picked up a throw in from Nick Garcia,
dancing his around a couple of Greyhound defenders before ripping a 20-yard shot to the upper left corner for his second tally of the season.
The contest saw end-to-end action in the opening 45 minutes play, but neither team could get on the board. Niagara held a slim 8-7 lead in shots, as well as a five to one advantage in corner kicks.
"We were very happy to have the alums at the game," Brooks added. "We had a great turnout for Alumni Weekend and we are so thankful we had them. We do feel like we definitely had the crowd behind us, given us that 12th man on the field."
Petricek finished the game with three saves to help the Purple Eagles extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games.
The Purple Eagles return to the field on Sunday, Oct. 7 when Niagara hosts conference foe the Rider Broncs at 1 p.m.