By Andy Landolfi
Today, the fourth seeded Saint Francis Red Flash (7-7-5, 4-3-3 NEC) defeated the first seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats (10-6-2, 8-1-1 NEC) in penalty kicks, winning 4-3. The semi-final loss ends the Bobcats’ season.
The two teams played to a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes of regulation play and 20 minutes of overtime play. After more than 100 minutes of play, the teams went to penalty kicks.
“The penalty kick shoot out is a game of chance,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “Whether it’s five kicks or 500 kicks, eventually there’s going to be a winner and a loser.”
The penalty kicks came down to the final shot. Saint Francis Nick Kolarac stepped up to the penalty mark as Quinnipiac’s goalkeeper Borja Angoitia awaited Kolarac’s shot. Kolarac sent a driving shot straight down the middle of the net toward Angoitia. The shot deflected off of Angoitia’s hand and landed in the back of the net.
The Red Flash took the 1-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
Sophomore Ryan Byers scored his first goal of the season off of a Wayne Tiller assist. Byers received a through-ball near the Bobcats’ 18-yard box. Once he controlled the ball he sent a curling shot into the upper right hand corner of the goal.
“We went down really early but the boys kept positive,” Da Costa said. “They kept believing. They kept fighting.”
The Bobcats answered back in the 56th minute on Philip Surprise’s ninth goal.
William Daniels started the play when he sent a lofted ball over the Red Flash defense to a sprinting Suprise. Suprise placed the ball into the lower corner of the net outside the reach of Daniel Valcicak’s diving attempt.
That was all the Bobcats’ offense could produce. Still, Da Costa was happy how his team played.
“I thought we played really well considering the circumstances and conditions.”
The Red Flash victory marks the end of the season for the Bobcat’s and the end of collegiate careers for six Bobcats’ players. Today’s loss was the final game for seniors Ryan Malki, Philip Suprise, Marijan Jurac, William Daniels, Robbie McLarney and William Cavallo.
“Every year we have to unfortunately lose people,” Da Costa said. “Whether they are in the starting line up, or whether they are full-time players, or whether they are role players, they all leave a massive hole behind. We will miss all of them.”
The Red Flash will take on either second seeded Fairleigh Dickinson University or third seeded Monmouth University in the NEC finals.