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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

Finding their feet


Men’s soccer drops road game for first loss

The Saint Joseph’s University men’s soccer team (1-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season on the road against Quinnipiac University on Sept. 2.

Quinnipiac jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when junior Matthew Taylor scored in the fifth minute for the Bobcats. It would be the only goal scored from either team for the entirety of the game.

Head Coach Don D’Ambra said that Quinnipiac seemed to take St. Joe’s off-guard.

“Us having six freshmen playing a lot of minutes kind of showed their inexperience to start,” D’Ambra said. “Unfortunately, we had trouble getting our defensive shape organized and we ended up giving up a goal.”

D’Ambra did mention that the Hawks were able to adjust quickly.

“Once we got organized and adjusted, it was a much more competitive game,” he said. “We looked young in that first 20 minutes, but overall we adjusted really well. The game was competitive from that point on.”

The inexperience and youth of the team isn’t guaranteed to be an issue moving forward, though.

“I feel good about it,” D’Ambra said. “I think to have that many young guys earning so many starting roles just means that we have a bright future with this group of kids. How quickly they adjust at the Division I level and some of the things they’ll be seeing will dictate their learning curve. I would imagine at the end of the year, they’re going to have grown quite a bit. It’s a mature process as well. It’s a developmental process.”

Senior Greg O’Connell is happy overall with the way the freshmen have played so far this season.

“[The freshman] have definitely been stepping up and filling in those roles that we lost last year,” O’Connell said. “Yesterday [against Quinnipiac] was just a lapse, I would say. We turned it off for the first five minutes of the game and gave up an easy goal, but the rest of the game, I thought we defended well.”

Despite allowing an early goal, D’Ambra is pleased with the team’s defense

“Right now, we’re defending really well,” he said. “We’re really organized and we’re having so many young players impact our defensive performance as a team and that’s really good.”

O’Connell also commended the play of the defense.

“Our two outside backs have been great,” he said. “The two central defenders have always been solid. Having a great backline is part of having such a great team. I think that’s going to carry us throughout the season.’”

On the other hand, offense is where D’Ambra sees the team’s struggles.

“We’re not as efficient on the offensive end,” he said. “Keeping the ball when we win it, connecting a lot of basic passes and a little bit more confidence in the attack. That’s by  far going to be what our focus is for the next couple of weeks.”

O’Connell believes the offense will eventually improve to the caliber that D’Ambra and the rest of the team desires.

“We’re definitely playing a lot of different guys in a lot of different positions up top,” he said. “We’re cycling through three forwards right now. It’s still early in the season, so we’re still trying to find a rhythm up top. Matty [Crawford] has been carrying the team with four goals in three games. I’m not concerned; I know it’s going to happen, it’s going to come. I think our offense will definitely be better.”

Senior Matt Crawford has scored all four of the Hawks’ goals this season, three of them in the season opener.

The Hawks face Manhattan College next on Sweeney Field at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6.

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