In 2004, the Lions finished with a 14-6 record and the 2006 team were standing proud with a 9-4-1 record prior to facing Albertus Magnus College on Saturday afternoon.,Last year, the Emerson men's soccer team struggled to reach a dismal 3-13-1 record. The team simply could not get anything going. This year's installment of Emerson mens' soccer, however, is looking much more like the Lions of the past.
In 2004, the Lions finished with a 14-6 record and the 2006 team were standing proud with a 9-4-1 record prior to facing Albertus Magnus College on Saturday afternoon.
The Falcons had their wings clipped early in the game and did not recover. The Lions' senior co-captains united to carry the team, as Cody Schram netted a goal within 17 minutes. That act would be followed up by his counterpart, senior Brad Fyffe, who scored moments later.
While the Lions have gotten many contributions from players this season, it's no wonder the team's captains have come a long way since entering the system.
"It's amazing to see how much they've matured as players," Head Coach Jared Scarpaci said.
The remainder of the first half was a defensive struggle for Albertus Magnus. The Lions played solid defense, led by midfielders Sam Perzanowski and Ryan Poliseno, as well as defenseman Steve "Franchise" Francis. The trio was able to hold the Falcons to two shots on net.
However, one of those two shots found its way to the twine for the Falcons as speedy Albertus Magnus senior Anthony Sallati took advantage of Emerson's goaltender Jonas Imbert, who was straying too far from the net. The Lions lead was cut in half to 2-1.
Frustration would set in during the second half as the Falcons simply could not deal with Emerson's physical play. Albertus Magnus sophomore Joe Salamone argued at length with officials several times before play was over.
Equally as frustrating for the other team was the Lions' offense, which kicked into gear in the second half.
Senior Will Sagar had good scoring chances and narrowly missed a goal that trickled about one foot shy of the right post.
Similar breathtaking near-misses would befall Emerson in the second half as they peppered the Falcons and dominated in possession time.
Later, freshman Casey Shane got several strong opportunities of his own and had a goal called back because on an offside call. Misfortune would also strike Shane minutes later as he injured his ankle after being taken down from behind by Albertus Magnus junior Doug Cole.
Cole received a yellow card on the play and Shane would need to be helped back to the sidelines, not putting any weight on the ankle. After the game, Scarpaci said his status was not yet known but said the injury was "a pretty good one."
Scarpaci said that Shane has been a vital component to the team throughout the entire season.
"Casey [Shane] was a strong substitute all year in multiple positions. It does mean something [to lose him]."
Scarpaci also has a lot of faith in his bench,
"I'll have to adjust my substitutions a little bit, but we have a deep bench," Scarpaci said. "We'll get by."
Fyffe would later go on to score his second goal of the game after an hour of play.
That final goal put the game out of reach as Emerson went on to win 3-1, earning their 10th victory of the season.
After the game, Fyffe credited his success to desire and knowing the big picture.
"I think I just really wanted it," Fyffe said. "Coming off a tough loss against Mass Maritime ... we had 45 minutes of just pure possession of the game and we just took that to heart."
Fyffe also noted that Casey Shane's injury is a shame but that he has a bright future with the team.
"He put his body on the line. We're going to be there for support," he said. "Casey Shane is a big part of the team, an up-and-coming freshman. Look for him in the future; he'll be back."
The Emerson defense has proven to be a staple of success for the men all season long. Fyffe called his team's defense the "strong backbone of the team." Coach Scarpaci agreed that the defense is much improved.
"They've stepped it up," he said.