NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – The Niagara men’s soccer team is taking its four-game unbeaten streak to Vermont this weekend to participate in the Smith Barney Classic. The Purple Eagles will play New Hampshire on Friday, Sept. 7 and the host, Vermont, on Sunday, Sept. 9. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Follow the Purple Eagles
Friday’s game against New Hampshire and Sunday’s afternoon game against Vermont will be streamed online for free. To access live video, please click on the appropriate link above.
Last Time Out
The Purple Eagles are currently on a three-game winning streak, earning a 3-0-1 record in four games thus far. Niagara swept this past weekend’s play with a 2-1 victory over Syracuse on Friday and dropped Wisconsin-Green Bay by a score of 3-1.
Sophomore forward Callum Willmott leads the team in goals (3), points (6) and shots (9). Senior forward Bryan Da Cruz is second on the team in points (5) with two goals and one helper while senior Rene De Zorzi leads all Purple Eagle defenders with two scores on the season.
Senior goalkeeper Brett Petricek has been solid in goal for Niagara. In 380 minutes of action, Petricek has made 23 saves for a .821 save percentage and has a 1.18 goals-against average.
NSCAA Division I Men’s North Atlantic Poll
The Niagara men’s soccer squad was ranked fifth in the North Atlantic by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) last week. Niagara’s best ranking in the NSCAA North Atlantic poll was back in 2008 when for two straight weeks, the Purple Eagles were slated in third, while the previous five weeks, they were placed in fourth.
Scouting New Hampshire
New Hampshire enters the Smith Barney Classic with a 2-2 record, having won its last game against Penn, 2-1 in double overtime. The Wildcats have three players tied for the lead in goals (1) and points (2) in junior midfielder Robert Palumbo, sophomore forward David Schlatter and senior forward Jordan Thomas.
Sophomore goalkeeper Travis Worra will likely earn the nod in goal. He owns a 2-0 record this season, making 12 saves for a .923 save percentage and a 0.43 goals-against average.
Taking a Look at Vermont
Vermont welcomes Niagara to Virtue Field with a 1-3 record. The Catamounts have dropped their previous three contests, most recently a 1-0 loss to Oakland.
Junior defender Scott Kisling has tallied the only goal for Vermont this season, with the helper coming from fellow defender Sean Sweeney. Senior defender Joe Losier and junior midfielders Noah Johnson and Jonny Bonner are tied for the team lead in shots with six.
Goalkeeper Dave Ramada has seen the majority of play for the Catamounts so far this season, accumulating a 1.33 goals-against average and a 0.667 save percentage. He has made eight saves and registered a shutout.
First Time For Everything
This will be the first time the Purple Eagles have played the Catamounts and the Wildcats in the program’s 43-year history.
Sophomore forward Callum Willmott led Niagara in the 2-1 win over the Orange on Friday, netting the only two goals of the game for the Purple Eagles. It was the first time the sophomore had a multiple-goal game while wearing the Purple and White.
Both goals came in the opening ten minutes of each half—the first on a header off a cross from Bryan Da Cruz and the second was a tally on a rebound off a shot by sophomore midfielder Jacob Ohlin. The two markers increased his count to three goals on the season.
Late Game Heroics
During Sunday’s contest verses Phoenix, Da Cruz came through for the Purple Eagles late in the game, tallying the game winning goal en route to the 3-1 victory.
The game was tied at one apiece in the 82nd minute when the senior forward deflected a set piece by sophomore midfielder Micah Paulino into the opponent’s goal to make it a 2-1 game. It was the senior’s second marker of the season.
After this weekend’s play, Niagara plays three of its next five games at Monteagle Ridge. The team travels to Dayton, Ohio next weekend to play Wright State before returning home on Sept. 21 to host St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m.