LOUDONVILLE, NY – After beginning the 2019 season with just three of its first 12 matches held inside the friendly confines of Hickey Field, Siena Men’s Soccer will kick of a stretch of four of its final six contests at home Wednesday afternoon. The Saints (4-8, 1-3) look to snap a three-game conference losing skid when they take on MAAC foe Niagara (4-7-1, 2-1-1) at 3:00 p.m.
A.J. Kanell has the call of the match through Siena All-Access on Twitter which can be viewed free of charge by clicking the corresponding link. Live stats and press box twitter updates will also be provided via the links at the top of the page.
After opening last week with a 2-1 loss at Monmouth, Siena dropped a heartbreaker in double overtime to I-87 rival Marist Saturday evening, conceding the game-winner in the 107th minute. Senior Matt Crisafulli netted his first goal of the season in the loss, heading a long drop into the box from freshman Gylfi Gestsson into the top right of the net in the 43rd minute.
With the all-time series beginning in 1989 when Siena joined the MAAC, the Saints have enjoyed longstanding success aver the Purple Eagles, holding a 20-7-5 advantage in meetings. Continued by a 2-1 victory in Niagara University, NY last season, the Saints will look to extend their seven-match unbeaten streak over the Purple Eagles, which dates back to 2012. Siena is 6-0-1 against its MAAC foe since they took a 2-1 win in overtime in the
MAAC Tournament on Nov. 8, 2012 in Poughkeepsie, NY. Niagara’s last regular season win over the Saints came on Nov. 7, 2010 in the form of a 4-3 overtime victory in Loudonville. Current sophomore Birgir Thorsteinsson and senior Eamonn Conway each scored in the first half as Siena began MAAC play with a 2-1 win at Niagara on Sept. 26, 2018.
Through 12 of 18 matches in the 2019 campaign, Siena’s offense (58 points) has already surpassed its production from each of the last two seasons and is second in the MAAC in assists (20) and third in points and goals (19).
Entering Wednesday’s match, Riquelme leads the MAAC and is tied for fourth-most nationally in assists (6), ranks second in points (15), is tied for second in goals (5) and is second in shots (40). Through 12 matches played, the junior’s point total ties Alexander Tejera (2016, 16 games) and Junior Rosero (2015, 20 games) for the most points by a Saint in a single season since James Beeston had 20 in 2013. Riquelme also became the first Saint since Beeston in 2013 to record over five points in a match on the second.
Riquelme already has the most assists by a Saint in a single season since current senior Conor McGlynn registered eight helps during his MAAC All-Rookie Team performance in 2016. The junior from Las Rozas, Spain has nine career helps, while McGlynn has 15 on his career, good for fifth all-time and one away from tying for fourth. Riquelme sits in a split for the third-most assists in the nation as of Oct. 8, while McGlynn (15) is fifth all-time in helps in program history and needs one more to move into a tie for fourth.
The Saints began MAAC action with a 3-1 win over Canisius on October 2, with Riquelme leading the way with a first-half offensive pillage. The Las Rozas, Spain native used a span of six minutes and 52 seconds to record the first hat trick in program history since 2010, netting goals in the 34th, 36th and 41st minutes of the match. The team’s point leader curved in a ball from outside the box on the first goal, and then used help from Conway and freshman Mark Sojer on the second and Martin and sophomore Samuel Schwarz on the third. Riquelme was given his first career MAAC weekly honor for his efforts, winning MAAC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 7 for Siena’s fifth weekly honor of the 2019 season.
Unbeaten in four of its last five matches after beginning the year at 1-6, Niagara comes into Wednesday’s contest tied for second in the league in points (7), following a home draw against Quinnipiac back on Saturday. The Purple Eagles began conference action by shutting out both Marist and Monmouth, but then fell to Canisius, 1-0, last Wednesday in the Battle of the Bridge. Freshman goalkeeper Nick Burke was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week following the performance, making nine saves in the double-overtime clean sheet against the Bobcats.