Men’s Beacons topple Fitchburg

Ryan Thomas

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the sun finally decided to shine through the clouds to signal a Beacon’s win. In the first home game for any varsity sport in the fall of 2007, the men’s soccer team defeated Fitchburg State College 1-0.

From early on, the UMB forwards and midfielders applied pressure to the Fitchburg State defense, creating scoring opportunities but not capitalizing on them. “I wish we put away a couple of chances that we had,” head coach Myles Berry said after the game.

The only goal of the game was scored in the 68th minute. Senior Maynor Sanchez’s bulge in the back of the net was assisted by Emile Pierre-Louis’ nifty cross. Arguably one of the fastest players the Beacons have to offer, Pierre-Louis streaked down the right sideline, beat his defender, and crossed crisply to Sanchez for the tally.

Berry was pleased with the win but emphasized that his team needed to play a more thorough defensive game and that they needed to capitalize on their opportunities. “We’ve got to take advantage of the chances we do generate,” Berry said. “Because against teams in [the Little East,] we’re not going to get that many chances and we’re going to be under a lot more pressure.”

What made this game look almost effortless for the Beacons Thursday was the leadership of junior goalkeeper, Paul Maniscalco, and the constant defensive pressure by sophomore defenseman, Terence Reardon.

Throughout the entire game, Maniscalco’s voice could be heard directing the defense and making sure his team was always in position to do the right thing. “It all starts with the goalkeeping,” Berry said after the game. “He’s the last guy on the defense, he can see everything that’s in front of him, so if he’s not talking, it’s pretty hard to break down what’s going on.”

A great goalie in soccer can be compared to a great quarterback on a football team. The quarterback needs to be the leader of his team and he needs to be on top of his game all the time to ensure that his team has the best chance to win. With a great quarterback comes a greater chance to win.

Paul Maniscalco is that quarterback. His leadership and lead-by-example attitude are key to this team’s success. He made many great decisions yesterday on all chips, crosses, free kicks and scoring chances that Fitchburg State sent his direction. As the goalkeeper goes, so does the team. If Maniscalco can play up to this level every game, then the Beacons will have a great chance to win every game.

In the 10th minute of yesterday’s match sophomore defender, Jose David Grajales, went down with an apparent ankle injury and Coach Berry started to worry. “I was concerned,” Berry said. “We’re not as good if we take him out. [Jose] organizes our defense and he’s a really strong individual player.”

After going to the sidelines for a drink of water and a quick stretch, Grajales was back in the game and he played the rest of the way. Berry said after the game that Grajales would be fine.

The next Beacon’s home game will be next Thursday, the 13th of September when the Beacons face off against Eastern Nazarene at 3:30.