Southern Connecticut Edges Stonehill 2-1 in NE-10 Quarterfinal

Skyhawks push hard for the second-half equalizer but are held off by Owls

Michael Bridges got the Skyhawks on the board in the first half.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (November 2, 2010) – The Stonehill College men’s soccer team concluded their 2010 season with a 2-1 Northeast-10 Conference quarterfinal defeat Tuesday at Southern Connecticut State University, currently ranked 20th nationally in Division II by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Senior Michael Bridges (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) scored a first-half goal for the Skyhawks, and senior goalkeeper Brandon McFarlane (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Free Academy) made four saves on the afternoon. The Owls advance to the semifinal round behind goals from senior Victor Hernandez (Rye Brook, N.Y./Portchester) and sophomore Seth Ragaini (Seymour, Conn./Seymour), and two saves from junior goalkeeper Andrew Esposito (East Haven, Conn./East Haven).

The opening fifteen minutes were dominated by Southern Connecticut, who held the action almost entirely in the Stonehill end as McFarlane was called on to make two early saves. The Owls jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 14:54 when Hernandez took a feed from sophomore Yoni Feldman (Ramat Gan, Israel/Blich Ramat-Gan) and slipped a shot through from the left side of the box.

Stonehill responded immediately, though, pushing back against Southern Connecticut on the offensive end, and Bridges struck back with the equalizer in the 23rd minute. Sophomore Anthony Campagnano (Schenectady, N.Y./Guilderland) found Bridges open on the right side, and Bridges drilled a shot to the lower left corner of the net to knot the score at 1-1. The Skyhawks maintained momentum through the half, keeping up the tempo on offense and managing another three shots, but were unable to get past Esposito a second time.

At the other end, Stonehill stopped two attempts at the go-ahead goal, as McFarlane turned back a shot by senior Harry Appiah (Pawtucket, R.I./Shea) and junior Christopher Agan (Niskayuna, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy) capped a strong first-half performance with a clutch defensive save in the final minutes of the period.

Ragaini netted the eventual winner for Southern Connecticut early in the second half, putting home a shot from close range in front of the net. The Skyhawks tried to climb back from the 2-1 deficit behind a pair of quick shots from senior Todd Shigo (Naples, Maine/Lake Region) and junior Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional), but couldn’t connect on what would prove to be their final scoring chances of the day.

Stonehill wraps up the season at 7-8-2 overall.