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Bobcats strike twice in first half, defeat Canisius 3-0

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Paul Matli

After scoring just two goals in its first eight games, the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team has flipped the script. It has scored five goals in the last three games, and is 2-1 in that span.

Quinnipiac stormed out of the gate against the Canisius Golden Griffins on Saturday at the QU Turf Complex. Matt Taylor and Will Pustari both scored within the first 20 minutes, and Rashawn Dally finally broke through, capping off the Bobcats 3-0 win with a goal in the 88th minute.

With the win the Bobcats now sit at 3-7-1 overall and 2-2 in the MAAC. Head Coach Eric Da Costa was pleased with his teams performance.

“Canisius is a really good team and this was a big game for us to pick up points and reaffirm that we are doing the right things,” Da Costa said.

The Bobcats played a high pressing style against a very good Golden Griffins team. The style worked as Quinnipiac closed down the space in the midfield and didn’t allow Canisius any room to operate. In all, the Golden Griffins had just 4 shots on goal compared to the Bobcats 17.

Da Costa said this high pressing style was part of the game plan.

“Every game, every opponent presents different challenges and you need to be able to adapt and come up with a game plan that suits us,” Da Costa said.

As for Pustari, he said the talk of playing aggressively started well before the first whistle.

“In the locker room before the game, coach told us we needed to bring a lot of energy,” Pustari said. “The mentally was really follow every shot, fight like hell for it and we did that.”

Da Costa said the Bobcats scoring within the first 20 minutes relaxed the team. It allowed them to play free and easy, while making the Griffins uncomfortable. Quinnipiac has scored the first goal three times this season, and each time it has gone on to win the contest.

Canisius picked up the pace in the second half as it got more physical and tried to impose its will on the home team. More than once there was some extra-curricular activity between Quinnipiac players and Canisius players which the officials needed to break up.

Even with the increase in pressure and physically from the Golden Griffins, Da Costa was pleased with his teams defense.

“They put some pressure on us and I thought our backline really handled it well,” Da Costa said.

Perhaps the most important development for the Bobcats was the reemergence of their junior striker. Dally has worked hard all season long, but has been unable to find the back of the net. However Saturday changed everything.

Dally had 4 shots on goal, created a few more opportunities for his teammates and his hard work led to his first goal of the season.

“It’s a great feeling, I’ve been waiting for it all season,” Dally said. “Now that I’ve got it, I’ve got to keep thinking about the next one.”

Taylor and Pustari also stepped up for the Bobcats. Taylor scored his second goal of the season, while Pustari played much higher up the pitch than usual and contributed his first tally of the year.

Chrysostomos Iakovidis notched his third shutout of the season. The sophomore goalkeeper continues to impress his head coach with quality play.

“Except for one game, he’s been excellent all season,” Da Costa said.

There was one historic Bobcats milestone in the game, as captain James Doig set the program record for individual wins by one player with 33.

With the Bobcats successfully playing the high pressing style, it will be a focal point to see if they continue with it on Wednesday at home against the Iona Gaels.

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