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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Men’s soccer falls to La Salle 3-2

Bottom row, left to right: Eric Jordan, Sam Irvin, Jay Higbee, Ted Foley, Mori Diane, Bliss Harris, and Mike Stuski (Photo by Christy Selagy, M.A., ’17).

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The Saint Joseph’s University men’s soccer team fell to Atlantic 10 and Philadelphia Soccer Six rival the La Salle University Explorers by a final score of 3-2 at Sweeney Field on Saturday night in their final home game of the season.

“I think it was a very good, competitive game,” Head Coach Don D’Ambra said. “We came out and executed our game plan perfect. We came out very aggressive, very eager to attack.”

Prior to the start of the game, the Hawks honored their seven seniors, forwards Mori Diane and Ted Foley, midfielders Bliss Harris, Sam Irvin, and Eric Jordan, defender Mike Stuski, and goalkeeper Jay Higbee.

“It’s always a development and growing phase,” D’Ambra said of the seniors’ time on Hawk Hill. “They come in and they don’t know and they learn. They learn the culture of working hard and playing for one another… They worked really hard every day and were really dependable. Held everyone and themselves accountable. These guys are going to be successful in life. I’m proud of how they’ve grown and what they’ve done this year. I’m sad to see that they haven’t reaped the rewards of their hard work and their excellent leadership… I think for Senior Day, for seniors to come out and play as well as they did shows a lot of character.”

Foley started the game for the first time this season, and played the full 90 minutes, a season high. Other members of the senior class played important roles in the game as well, with at least one senior contributing to both of the Hawks’ goals.

Irvin scored the first goal of the game after 7:17, off an assist from sophomore Derek MacKinnon. Although La Salle took two corner kicks within 30 seconds of each other, the St. Joe’s defense kept them from capitalizing on them.

Almost exactly three minutes after Irvin’s goal, the Hawks doubled their lead on a goal from MacKinnon. Stuski sent a long pass to Diane, who flicked the ball to MacKinnon for his third goal of the season.

“We’ve been struggling to score goals, so for us to come out and score two goals right away, I really felt good about us getting a result,” D’Ambra said.

However, the Explorers struck back in the 23rd minute off a header goal from Colman Kennedy.

The Hawks went on to take three shots and one corner kick in less than a minute, but were unable to capitalize as the Explorers’ defense blocked all the shots. La Salle tied the game in the 41st minute with a shot in the bottom left corner of the goal.

With just two seconds left in the half, Irvin took his second shot of the game, but the ball went wide and the teams went into halftime tied at two.

“You’ve got to give La Salle credit,” D’Ambra said. “They never hung their head. They kept battling. They beat us at what we knew they were going to do… They just capitalized on a couple mistakes we made and that’s what it comes down to.”

The majority of the second half was paced by aggressive, scoreless play, until the 87th minute. La Salle’s Sixtus Akinlosotu took a shot with 3:30 left in the game, but St. Joe’s junior goalkeeper Greg O’Connell was there to make the save. Akinlosotu found his own rebound and put the ball in the net to thunderous cheering from La Salle’s bench.

The Explorers held a 16-12 advantage in shots for the match, and also took seven of the match’s 11 corner kicks.

“We lost our last five games. A lot of the success of your season goes into momentum,” D’Ambra said. “To lose five games at the end of the season, we didn’t have good momentum. Bounces didn’t go our way. Confidence was a little bit lower, but our guys never gave up. They battled.”

The Hawks received full-game efforts from O’Connell, Foley, Stuski, Jordan, junior midfielder Matt Crawford, sophomore defender Eddie McCusker, and junior defender Kevin Lockhart. Freshman forward Daryus Lake played 35 minutes off the bench, and junior forward Jack Lee played 15 minutes, a season high.

The Hawks’ final game of the regular season will be at Yale University on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The A-10 postseason will start on Thursday, Nov. 10, with the final field of eight teams being announced on Saturday, Nov. 5.

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