NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – The Niagara men’s soccer team concludes non-conference action this weekend starting with Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Niagara Field and then finishing with Little 3 rival St. Bonaventure on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
Follow the Purple Eagles
Live Stats for Friday’s game against Saint Francis and Sunday’s afternoon game against St. Bonaventure will be available. Free video streaming will only be available for Friday’s home contest. To access live stats or live video, please click on the appropriate link above.
Purple Eagles 101
The Purple Eagles (4-0-3) seven-game unbeaten streak is the team’s best start in the past decade. Niagara’s most recent win came last Friday, when it dropped Wright State, 3-0.
Sophomore forward Callum Willmott continues to lead the team with three goals and seven points. Senior Bryan Da Cruz is close behind with five points (two goals, one assist) and is tops on the team with 15 shots. Senior Rene De Zorzi leads all defenders with four points.
Senior keeper Brett Petricek has played a majority of minutes for NU, making 41 saves for a .891 save percentage and a 0.66 goals-against average.
NSCAA Division I Men’s North Atlantic Poll
For the fifth-straight week, the Niagara men’s soccer squad has been ranked in the North Atlantic by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). For the second time this season, the Purple Eagles were placed in second. This is the team’s best ranking in the NSCAA North Atlantic poll with the previous best ranking was in since 2008 when for two straight weeks, the Purple Eagles were slated in third.
Scouting Saint Francis
St. Franics comes to Monteagle Ridge with a 2-2-2 record with its most recent contest ending in a 1-0 loss to St. Bonaventure. The Red Flash are led by sophomore midfielder Nick Kolarac who leads the team in points (4) and goals (2). SFU has also received offensive contributions from seniors Makala Hairston and Wayne Tiller.
Senior goalkeeper Daniel Valcicak has played every minute for the Red Flash so far this season. He has made 31 saves for a .912 save percentage and a 0.46 goals-against average.
Red Flash vs. Purple Eagles
The teams have only met once, dating back to 2001 when Niagara and Saint Francis battled to a 1-1 draw.
Taking a Look at St. Bonaventure
St. Bonaventure welcomes Niagara to McGraw-Jennings Field with a 1-6-0 record as the team snagged its first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over SFU. Bona plays Canisius on Friday before hosting the Purple Eagles on Sunday.
The Bonnies have scored three goals during the 2012 campaign, with all three tallies have come from different members of the squad. Junior defender Brad Beaumont, senior midfielder Adam Scott and sophomore defender Garrett Pasono have netted a goal each, while junior midfielder Brad Vanino has contributed two helpers.
Goalkeeper duties have been split between rookie Ben Cowman and sophomore Bobby Diaz. Cowman owns a 4.00 goals-against average and a .458 save percentage, while Diaz has a 4.33 GAA and a .458 save percentage.
All-Time Against the Bonnies
The Bonnies hold the upper hand on the Purple Eagles, going 28-13-3 in 44 contests. Niagara earned its first win versus Little 3 rival St. Bonaventure in five seasons last year with a 3-1 victory.
Da Cruz tallied the third goal of the game and assisted on the game-winning tally. Petricek was making his second start of the season in goal and as a Purple Eagle, stopping five Bonnie looks on goal.
Last Time Out
The Purple Eagles earned a 3-0 shutout win over Wright State last Friday as Niagara got scores from three different Purple Eagles. Sophomore Jack Welsh finished the game with three points (1-1-3), while junior Ken Cooper and his brother Darren Cooper solidified the win for Niagara with second-half tallies.
Petricek was able to keep the Raiders off the board with five stops.
The Purple Eagles are tied with Marist for the conference lead in shutouts (3). The trio of blank slates has occurred in the previous three contests.
Petricek has been solid in goal for the Purple Eagles, earning his second-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Week honors. The senior has kept opponents off the scoreboard for three-straight games now, first with a duo of 0-0 draws against New Hampshire and Vermont, and most recently in a 3-0 win over Wright State.
His .933 save percentage ranks him sixth in the nation and first in the conference, while his 0.66 goals-against average is 28th in the nation and second in the MAAC.
Player Of The Week
Welsh was named College Sports Madness MAAC Player of the Week after his three-point game against Wright State last Friday. He scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in the Purple Eagles second tally of the game.
The Rochester Hills, Mich. native has played in six this season, totaling three points (1-1-3) and four shots.
After Sunday’s contest, the Purple Eagles have a week off before returning home on Friday, Oct. 5 for the start of conference play. Niagara plays Loyola on Friday at 7 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend with a game versus Rider on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.