For the second consecutive season, the men’s soccer team has qualified for the ECC conference tournament, and for the second consecutive year, it has come up short against powerhouse LIU Post.
While last year’s playoff game was a 7-1 blowout, this year’s game was quite different, as the Mavericks gave the No. 14 ranked Pioneers all they could handle in a 2-1 loss in Brookville on Nov. 4 after a last second goal before time expired.
Mercy and LIU Post fought to a 2-2 double overtime tie on Oct. 26. Early in the season, LIU Post was the top ranked team in the nation before being upset by Pace University.
LIU’s Jonathon Watkin scored with 89:58 left on the clock to give the Pioneers the victory after a rebound fell in front of him after Mercy goalkeeper Nick Papas recorded his fifth save.
Mercy took the lead early as Michael Ledesma was assisted by Ransmond Aboagye for a one-timer in the fifth minute of the game. According to Mercy’s sports information department, it was the fourth game in a row that Mercy held a lead over the nationally ranked powerhouse.
LIU’s Elvind Ausboe netted the game at 1-1 in the fifteenth minute after a low cross found him in front of the net.
In two games this season, the Mercy defense held the LIU high-powered offense, which is ranked seventh in the nation, to only two goals per game.
Both teams recorded 19 shots on goal. The LIU goalie, Marco Jorgensen, made five saves.
Five days later, LIU Post won its second consecutive title with a 3-0 win over Dowling.
The Mavericks finished the season 11-4-4 and wait for the bids to be awarded for the NCAA playoffs.
The senior goalkeeper from Castelton, Nick Papas, has been a brick wall in goal for the Mavericks all season. Pappas has given up 19 goals with 86 saves this season, registering a .827 save percentage and a stellar .9 goals against average per game. Serving as one of the teams captains, Papas has certainly led his team to many victories due to his superb play. Back in September, Papas was awarded the Student Athlete of the Month by the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee. He was chosen for the award due to his success in the classroom, his athletic performance, extra- curricular activities, and volunteering and fundraising. So far this season, Pappas has been recognized as the ECC Defensive Player of the Week since he led the conference in saves percentage, and goals against average.
On most soccer teams, there is that one “star” player who scores majority of the goals, while the rest of the team just feeds him the ball. For the Mavericks, this is very far from the truth. The Mavericks have multiple players who have attempted ten or more shots, which shows the talent that is present all throughout the roster. While taking shots is obviously important, the only way to win games is to put the ball in the back of the net. Just like the shot attempts, so far this season the Mavericks have had 10 players score at least one goal.
Offensively, Christian Diaz led the team with 17 points and seven goals. Ledesma scored six goals this season, and Danny Leon Jr. netted five. Aboagye, Chuong Trang, Roberto Dashi and Luis Perez led the team with four assists each.
While it is a simple concept, a win is a win no matter how it is done. While wining on the road is no easy feat, this year the Mavericks have won three games away from home, while only losing three games. At home, the Mavericks have defended their turf well. The team is 8-1-3 at home with their one loss being by just one goal in overtime to rival Nyack College.
In the competitive ECC, the team finished 5-2-3.
Credit has to be given to the coach of the team, Chris Smith. After leading the team to their first East Coast Conference since 2005 last season, Smith has coached his team to back to back postseasons. While the players are the ones who ultimately determine who wins or losses, it is impossible to not take notice of the impressive coaching that Smith and his assistants have done for the 2013 campaign.
Smith was asked about why he feels his team had been so successful, at the time the team was 8-3-2.
He said, “It all starts with our intensive off season work, the summer conditioning program, and the preseason camp. I am proud that we have been regionally ranked in the East for the entire season and all of last season.”
Competing for the conference title and a postseason berth adds an extra flair to the season, he says.
“It is exciting and our men are fully committed to battle any, and all adversity that comes our way which will serve them well now, and for the rest of their lives in everything they look to do personally and professionally.”