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Men’s soccer ends near two-year winless skid with victory over Iona

By: Adam Gorski

At long last, the streak is over.

The Canisius men’s soccer team ended a 21-match winless skid with a 2-0 shutout of Iona at the Gaels’ Mazzella Field on Saturday.

It was the Griffs’ first win since Oct. 9, 2019, a 1-0 victory over Niagara.

“(Saturday) was a very good win on the road against a quality Iona team,” Griffs head coach Dermot McGrane told “We’ve been knocking on the door all season and our hard work and perseverance finally paid off with a win.”

The Gaels and Griffs played to a scoreless first half, with both sides mustering chances through four and three shots on goal, respectively.

Canisius (1-6-2, 1-1-0) would then take the lead in the 58th minute off a phenomenal solo effort from Lachlan Beever.

After Adam Grover cleared the ball towards the Iona defensive third, a mistimed sliding tackle from a Gael defender gifted Beever a clean run at goal. After dribbling around another defender and managing to keep hold of the ball, space opened up for him to get a left-footed shot away that found the bottom left corner, beating Iona keeper Zach Nelson to give the Griffs a 1-0 lead.

Beever nearly tallied a second minutes later, as a free kick from Jonny Tekie ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar and the rebound found Beever, who couldn’t quite keep his header down.

Iona (3-4-2, 0-1-1) nearly equalized in the 66th minute, as a Gael cross found a wide open Camil Azzam Ruiz, whose point-blank volley flew over the crossbar from just six yards out.

The Griffs would put the game on ice thanks to another strong solo effort, this time from Dylan Rice. In the 89th minute, after Rice received a ball from Matt Spangler, the freshman managed to elude the three Iona defenders that surrounded him and unleashed a right-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard box that found the bottom left corner of the net to give Canisius their second tally. It was Rice’s first career collegiate goal.

Griffs goalkeeper William Howard made nine saves in a strong effort to secure his side the clean sheet, the first of his Canisius career.

After the big win on Saturday, the Griffs had their bye week and did not play a match on Wednesday. Entering it with momentum, McGrane hopes his side will take advantage of it.

“We can actually get some work done,” he said. “It’s very hard to go Saturday, Wednesday and get a lot accomplished because you still have to let bodies recover while preparing for a game. With the long week, we can actually work on ourselves, and there’s a couple of things we want to tackle.”

Canisius returns to action on Saturday, as they host Quinnipiac for their third MAAC game at 1 p.m.

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