Men’s soccer shuts out Canisius, 3-0

Juliana Nikac

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Photo: Samantha Bashaw

Photo: Samantha Bashaw

All season long, the Quinnipiac Bobcats (3-7-1 overall, 2-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) have been plagued with a lack of consistent goal scoring. If their game against the Canisius Golden Griffins (8-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 MAAC) didn’t snap the Bobcats out of their funk, it was certainly a step in the right direction as Quinnipiac defeated Canisius on Saturday, 3-0. 

The Quinnipiac defense was able to keep the offensively prolific Golden Griffins, who possess the highest goals per game average in the conference, off the board early, but it was the offense that stole the show. Immediately out of the gate, the Bobcats switched the lax, slow offensive style they had used all season to a high-press offense which involved constantly pushing the ball forward, moving the ball around, and whipping in bunches of crosses in front of goal. 

It didn’t take long for the gameplan adjustment to pay off, as junior midfielder Matthew Taylor found the back of the net just 15 minutes in after picking up a rebound off a shot from teammate Max Rothenbuecher. Taylor’s goal was quickly doubled by a second from senior Will Pustari just four minutes later, as he pounced on a loose ball right in front of goal and stretched the Bobcat lead to 2-0 just 18 minutes in. 

“On any shot and any opportunity, you have to fight like hell for it, and I did that,” said Pustari on his first goal of the season. 

Despite a lead, the Bobcats did not sit back on their offensive pressure at all. They continued to press Golden Griffins defenders in their own half, forcing turnover after turnover. Rashawn Dally, a key contributor to the Bobcats’ first half success, was quick to pick up on the lackluster ball protection from Canisius defenders.  

“As the game started, we realized that they were turning the ball over easily, especially on the right side,” Dally said. “Right away, we all picked up on that, and started pressing them even more.” 

The Bobcats, who entered the half with a 2-0 lead, held the high-powered Golden Griffs to just one shot in the first half. The next 45 minutes weren’t much different, as the Bobcats continued to frustrate the Golden Griffs offensively, leading to silly penalties and a yellow card to Canisius forward Hakeem Milson. 

The Bobcats put the nail in the coffin in the 88th minute, when Rashawn Dally received a pass from team captain James Doig. He found himself one-on-one with the keeper and knocked the ball off woodwork into the back of the net. The goal, Dally’s first of the season, was the capstone on what was a breakout game for the Bobcats offense. 

“It’s a great feeling. I’ve been waiting for it all season. Now, I’m looking forward to just keep going and worry about the next one,” said Dally on his first goal of the season. 

The game marked a new season high in goals scored for this Bobcats team, and for both Pustari and Dally, they believe that this team has finally broken their long spell of offensive futility. 

“You just have to stay together and believe. People are with you when you’re winning, and when you’re losing, they’re not,” Pustari said. “But this team, we’re a family, we believe, and we stick with each other. It’s all about believing in the guy next to you.” 

“We’ve been doing the same thing we’ve been doing since the beginning of the season. We’re creating chances, we’re just not putting them away, and sometimes that’s how the game goes. But we know that if we keep working, we’ll keep scoring goals,” said Dally. 

Only time will tell if this game was simply a fluke or if it was truly a sign of things to come. The Bobcats will look to continue their recent goal splurge when the Iona Gaels (3-4-2, 2-2 MAAC) come to Hamden on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. 

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Men’s soccer shuts out Canisius, 3-0