Men’s Soccer Looks to Earn Championship Berth Against Marist

Will Fowler

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Photo: Liz Flynn

After a tough non-conference schedule and a strong performance in MAAC play, the postseason for the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team (10-5-2, 8-1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) is finally here. A second-place finish in the conference has earned them a first-round bye, and now, they clash with the Marist Red Foxes (8-5-4, 6-2-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) with a championship berth on the line.

Players to Watch

Quinnipiac- Eamon Whelan

This one seems obvious. After a disappointing sophomore campaign, Whelan bounced back this year with 12 goals in 16 games, 27 points, and unanimous MAAC Offensive Player of the Year honors. Whelan is the prototypical “right place, right time” forward, as he seemingly always gets himself into pockets of space in front of goal or creeps behind the back line on a perfectly timed run. He’s typically been hit-or-miss on a game-by-game basis, but if he is on for the Bobcats on Wednesday, they will be boosted by the play of the most prolific goal scorer in the conference.

Marist- Ryan Sinnott

Staring back at Whelan will be junior goalkeeper Ryan Sinnott, who has been one of the conference’s top keepers despite missing out on All-MAAC honors. Sinnott has been Marist’s lead goalkeeper for the entire season, starting in 14 of 17 games, and in those games, he’s only allowed the ball to find the back of the net 11 times – good for a 0.69 GAA. The Red Foxes are behind only Manhattan in goals allowed, and that’s largely thanks to the play of Sinnott – his six conference shutouts also rank second in the MAAC.

Keys to the Game

Quinnipiac –  Win Battles in Neutral Third

Simon Hillinger, Matthew Taylor and Paulo Soares have been three unsung heroes for the Bobcats this season. None of the success achieved by Whelan or Rashawn Dally would have been possible if not for the play of the talented trio in the midfield, and when they are controlling possession in the middle third, they give Dally and Whelan more than enough time to put themselves in positions to score. If the Bobcats are able to win those midfield battles and dominate possession, it could be a long day for Marist defenders.

Marist – Hold Your Lines

Quinnipiac is a team that likes to carry the ball down the wing, use Dally and Whelan to draw defenders off their line in the middle, and then whip the ball into open space. If Marist defenders can hold their lines and ensure the Quinnipiac strikers don’t disrupt formation in the box, one of two things will happen: either they give themselves chances to clear the crosses away, or Whelan and Dally get caught offside. It’s easier said than done, but holding your line on defense can neutralize the Bobcats’ most prolific scoring tactics.

The Game

Be sure to catch all the postseason action at 12 p.m. on www.maacsports.com/watch/?Live=94. Join Will Fowler and Jonathan Banks on the call, or if you want live updates, follow @QBSN, @WillFowler5, or @JonathanBanks8_ on Twitter.