Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s soccer team had its season come to an end on Sunday, November 11, after the team lost 1-0 to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks in the second round of the NCAA East Regionals. The loss ended an impressive season that saw the Pioneers go 18-2 and rank number one in the country in Division II soccer at one point.
It was a close battle on Sunday, with both teams creating scoring opportunities throughout the game. Pioneers junior goalkeeper Marco Jorgensen had an excellent game, making nine saves and keeping his team in the game. His counterpart, Chris Maleri, was equally as stellar, making four saves in the River Hawks win.
The two teams traded scoring chances throughout the game. In the 14th minute, UMass Lowell’s Bruno Bonicontro sailed a shot over the goal. Prior to that, Pioneers freshman midfielder Per Forgaard had a good look, but was stone-walled by Maleri.
The game remained scoreless going into the second half and the Pioneers and River Hawks continued to trade chances. However, the River Hawks broke the scoreless tie in the 89th minute. UMass Lowell was awarded a corner kick, allowing Bonicontro to place a perfect kick right to teammate Juan Moreira who was able to head the ball past Jorgensen to give the River Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The Pioneers did not find an answer to that goal and saw the season come to an end with the loss. The Pioneers were outshot in the matchup 25-14.
“We are all very disappointed that the season came to an end this weekend,” said junior captain Eirik Bjorno. “We really hoped to extend the season for at least a week, and host the quarterfinals at home on Saturday. That was our goal, but we failed at the finish line. We are all aware that it is hard to win a National Championship, and statistics show that you have to be in the top of the region for more than one season to take the step into the final four, but we really hoped to do it this year.”
Though the season came to an end, there is plenty for the Pioneers to be proud of. The Pioneers were crowned East Coast Conference champs a week prior, after a 3-2 victory over New York Institute of Technology in the championship game. Several players also received individual awards for their performance this season. Junior forward Cemil Turan was named ECC Offensive Player of the Year, Jorgensen was named Goalkeeper of the Year, and Forgaard was named Rookie of the Year. In addition, Jorgensen and sophomore forward Eivind Austboe both were named to the Capital One Academic All-District Men’s Soccer Team.