Men’s soccer back on track after a pair of draws
By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor
The Canisius men’s soccer team earned a pair of draws last week, tying MAAC opponent Quinnipiac 3–3 on Saturday and Le Moyne 2–2 on Wednesday.
Quinnipiac, the defending MAAC champions, jumped out of the gate with an early 2–0 lead within the first 20 minutes of play on Saturday. Canisius answered with two goals of their own, the first coming in the 26th minute off the foot of sophomore midfielder Tarek El-Zammar.
The Griffs tied the game early in the second half as junior midfielder Kodie Sarkodie used his six-foot-five frame to head a corner kick into the back of the net. Quinnipiac answered with their third goal of the game, and it remained 3–2 until about 10 minutes remained. Freshman forward Matthew Fischer made a nice move along the sideline, cut towards the middle of the field and delivered a perfect pass to the open Kyle Pollard. The sophomore midfielder buried his chance, scoring his first career collegiate goal. The Griffs and Bobcats ended the game locked at three goals each, ending the losing streak Canisius had held for four games.
When asked about the resilient effort by the Griffins, head coach Michael Tanke had high praise for the team. “It shows a lot of character and a certain mentality or bravery to keep playing like that. If you go down 2–0, it’s a pretty common approach to just defend and try to stay in the game, and we did the exact opposite. We weren’t trying to stay in the game: we were trying to attack Quinnipiac, and you saw how that played out. I think it says a lot about the group, and keep in mind it’s a really young group.”
On Wednesday, Canisius hosted Le Moyne for their final non-conference game of the season. This time, it was the Griffins who started off hot, drawing a penalty kick in the ninth minute. Fischer cut across the penalty box with the ball and was tripped in the process. Sophomore midfielder Daniel Longo buried the kick, notching his third goal of the season. Le Moyne answered quickly, scoring their first of the game just three minutes after Longo’s goal. Sophomore midfielder Michael Switala scored to give Canisius a 2–1 lead, recording his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Switala is also in a four-way tie for most goals scored in the MAAC this season. The only shot on goal in the second half was by the Dolphins, who capitalized on the chance, tying the game at two apiece in the 66th minute. The game would end in a 2–2 draw, despite many promising chances from Canisius in the second half.
Coach Tanke described the importance of having the full team back, after several starters missed time during the losing streak. “I do think it’s important to note on the four game losing streak, Inder [Thind] was out, Dylan Rice was out with sickness. AJ Zarcone, who’s played every minute of the season, was out with sickness against Binghamton. And those are all defenders, but it just affects the whole team: it's like a ripple effect. On top of all the illnesses, we were also out with Ely Sidibe. … He opens up spaces in between for Kyle Pollard and [Michael] Switala. We didn’t have the team together for four games, and now we have the full team together again.”
Canisius now travels to New Rochelle to face Iona on Saturday at 1 p.m., where they’ll look for their first conference win of the season.