Quinnipiac Takes Control of No. 1 Seed in MAAC with One Game to Play


Credit: Rob Rasmussen | Quinnipiac Athletics

Zack Hochberg, Beat Reporter: Quinnipiac Men's Soccer

The Quinnipiac men’s soccer team came into Saturday jockeying for a first-round bye with both the Manhattan Jaspers and the Iona Gaels. However, after favorable results across the board, the Bobcats are on the verge of a MAAC regular season title.

Before the Bobcats could even kick their game off, the Iona Gaels defeated Mount St. Mary’s 3-0, thanks to two first-half goals from Camil Azzam Ruiz and another goal from sophomore midfielder Tim Timchenko. Next, the Niagara Purple Eagles helped the Bobcats big time. Niagara, who now sits as the No. 5 seed, played the Manhattan Jaspers to a 0-0 draw. 

As the Bobcats got their game underway, they sat just two points behind both Manhattan and Iona for the No. 1 seed, meaning a win against Canisius would put them at the top of the table. 

Quinnipiac got exactly what they were looking for just 11 minutes in, when David Bercedo got a steal before dribbling all the way into the box, finding Brage Aasen to his left, who fired a shot that tipped off of Canisius’ goalkeeper Williams Howard and into the back of the net. 

While a one-goal lead may not seem like a lot, it did today. Canisius played essentially the entire match with five players on their back line, rarely taking the opportunity to push the ball forward and create any meaningful chances, which is most likely part of the reason why the team only averages less than 0.6 goals per game. 

The Bobcats put the nail in the coffin in the 62nd minute when Aasen scored, again assisted by Bercedo, who was able to take advantage of a loose ball in the box and give it up to Aasen at the top of the box, who beat the keeper with a hard shot to the left side of the net.

With a two-goal advantage, the Bobcats were able to cruise the rest of the way, winning the match 2-0 while clinching a first-round bye and remaining unbeaten in Hamden this season.  

The win put Quinnipiac in sole possession of the No. 1 seed in the conference with 20 points and a 6-1-2 conference record. Sitting just behind them are Iona (No. 2) at 5-0-4 with 19 points and Manhattan (No. 3) at 5-1-4 with 19 points as well. 

While the No. 1 seed is impressive, it’s even more impressive considering the fact that the Bobcats had a losing record in the conference last season and they missed the playoffs altogether. 

“This team has done things we’ve never done before as a program, and while I won’t talk about the season until it’s over, they should be proud of the fact that they were the group that bounced back,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. 

With a first-round bye in hand, the Bobcats first MAAC playoff game will be at home on Nov. 10. But there’s still one more game to play with a lot at stake, the Bobcats can win a MAAC regular season title on Nov. 2 when they travel to Niagara.