FLUSHING, NY – The University of the District of Columbia men's soccer team surrendered two unanswered goals in a 2-1 loss vs. East Coast Conference foe Queens College (NY) in both teams' regular season finale Saturday afternoon at Queens College Soccer Field.
The Firebirds (13-5, 6-3 ECC), having already clinched an East Coast Conference Championship Tournament berth, will await the result of the Mercy College vs. St. Thomas Aquinas game today at 3 p.m. to find out their tournament seed. If the visiting Spartans can knock off the Mavericks today in Dobbs Ferry, NY, UDC will claim the No. 2 seed, but if Mercy can tie or win today, then the Mavericks will earn the No. 2 seed, and UDC will fall to No. 3. The No. 2 seed will host the No. 3 seed in the semifinal round on Tuesday, October 31st.
UDC, which had won five of its last six including three consecutive victories coming in, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on senior forward Raphael Pacano's 10th goal of the season just over five minutes into the action. Junior midfielder Kelvin Hererra made an outstanding play to dispossess a Knight player near the midfield line and then loft a pass down the left sideline for junior forward Kevin Ortez. After chasing the ball down, Ortez sent a line drive cross into the box that was headed in emphatically by Pacano for the game's opening goal.
Queens, which out-shot UDC, 7-2 in the first half and 12-9 for the game, answered with a goal by Paul Hayes in the 15th minute. Hayes headed in a corner by Andras Breuer for the qualizer. The two teams headed to halftime tied, 1-1.
Just shy of 10 minutes into the second half, the Knights scored the go-ahead goal as Cristian Villalta scored on a strike from just inside the box after a long run down the field and a short pass by Breuer.
The Firebirds had several quality chances to force a tie in regulation, including two in the final minute of play. Junior midfielder Michael Agboola found a loose ball just inside the box and blasted a shot that clanged off the crossbar right around the minute-mark. Then, senior midfielder Christopher Moke rocketed a shot with under 30 seconds to play that was saved by Chidiebere Iloka.
The Knights improved to 8-6-2 overall and 4-3-2 in league play with this win on their Senior Day, and if Roberts Wesleyan College can earn an upset win over NYIT later today, Queens will earn the 4th and final ECC playoff spot.
Iloka improved to 4-2-1 on the season, stopping six of seven shots faced in the complete game victory. UDC sophomore goalkeeper Joao Brusamolin fell to 7-4 on the season with the loss as he made three saves and allowed two goals.
UDC will square off against Mercy College in the ECC Championship Tournament semifinal on Tuesday, October 31st. Today's result in the Mavericks' home game vs. STAC will determine the site of the game. The Firebirds erupted for five first half goals in a 5-0 victory at home vs. the Mavericks when the two teams met this season back on September 16th.