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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacons Shine Again

Goalie Meghan Cyr (blue shirt) looks in dismay as the ball ends
up in the back of the net giving Southern Maine its fifth goal.

Goalie Meghan Cyr (blue shirt) looks in dismay as the ball ends up in the back of the net giving Southern Maine its fifth goal.

Bostonians are used to winning when it comes to sports. We have always had great teams to root for from the Celtics and Bruins of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80s to the Red Sox of the 90s and 00s and the Patriots of today. Now we have a new powerhouse to get behind and that is Beacons Men’s Soccer right here at UMass Boston. The Beacons have made it back to the LEC tournament for the first time in 7 years, as this whirl wind season continues for Head Coach Myles Berry and his gritty young team. This year’s core of strong young players has already made accomplishments worthy of recognition during the regular season as they made their presence known to those who underestimated them.

The Team clinched a playoff birth on Monday Oct 30 by defeating Keene State in a double overtime thriller. The game was an example of why UMass is capable of matching up with any team when it comes to skill, toughness and of course coaching. Defender and co-captain Mike Reda lifted UMass over the Owls with the golden goal in the second overtime after 103 minutes of take-no-prisoners soccer. Midfielder Romeo Zeqo also continued his scoring ways with an unassisted goal in the first half, and forward Igor DaCruz added a score in the second half with the help of midfielder and co-captain Guilherme Goncalves. As the fourth seed in the tournament the Beacons will now move on to play this year’s top seed in the conference Plymouth State

UMass Boston comes into the tournament after posting an 11-7-0 regular-season record, including a 4-3-0 mark in LEC play. The Beacons have their most overall and conference victories since 1999 when they finished 12-7-0 and 4-3-0. UMass has proved a lot of doubters wrong after being selected to finish last in the eight-team league in the pre-season coaches poll. The Beacons first opened some eyes with a 3-1 win over Little East Conference rival Rhode Island College on September 23, to take down the Anchormen for the first time since 1997. If that wasn’t enough, UMass Boston got everyone’s attention when they snapped nationally-ranked Clark University’s nine-match unbeaten streak in a 1-0 double-overtime victory in Worcester, MA on October 4 and later in the season scored a decisive 4-0 victory in an LEC contest over Last years LEC champion Western Connecticut State University on October 21. Despite the key victories, UMass Boston’s conference playoff hopes hinged on its final match of the season – a showdown vs. the number two team in the conference, Keene State College. Following a postponement due to rain on October 28, the Beacons traveled to Keene, NH again on October 30 and needed no less than a victory to advance to the Little East tournament for the first time since 1999, which was also the last time they had beaten Keene State. UMass Boston found itself trailing just a minute and six seconds into the match, but responded with a pair of goals and clung to a one-goal lead until an Owls’ penalty kick tied the match at 2-2 with just 5:52 left in regulation, where the score would remain going into overtime. Despite an aggressive attack with no shortage of shots on goal, UMass Boston held Keene State without a score and forced a second overtime period. The Beacons finally ended the marathon with 6:32 left to play to advance to the tournament.

UMass Boston comes into Thursday’s semifinals game with the second-highest scoring offense in the league, averaging 2.39 tallies per game, while ranking fourth with 1.69 goals allowed. The Beacons are led up front by Zeqo, who leads the squad with 23 points on 10 goals and three assists and ranks second in the LEC in total goals and points. The two-time LEC Offensive Player of the Week has proved to be the team’s most efficient scorer, converting on just over 20% of his shot attempts to lead the squad. Forward John DiPietro has made his goals count with three of his seven scores resulting in game-winners, including the game-ender at Clark. The forward has also added five assists to place him third among LEC players. Reda is the Little East Conference’s top-scoring defender with eight goals and is perfect, converting all four of his penalty kick tries. The back also has three assists on the year to give him 19 points to rank second for UMB and his goal total is the highest for a UMass Boston defender since All-American Carlos Fernandes scored 11 times in 1995. Keeper Paul Maniscalco has shown, again and again, his ability to show up for the big games as evidence by his three shutouts, including his six-save effort at Clark and a career-high 14 saves in his blanking of Western Connecticut State. The second-year keeper came through with 10 saves at Keene State, including five in the final two overtime periods and owns a 1.46 goals against average, while maintaining a .785 save percentage.