WRITTEN BY NICOLAS FERNANDES

The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers men’s soccer team is on the road to Pennsylvania to face the Lafayette College Leopards tonight in their season opener.

soccer2016The Terriers finished the 2015 season 10-3-5 (3-2-2 NEC), losing their first match of the NEC Tournament to their biggest rival – the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.

“The actual excitement is that we want to win this year and we got to work hard,” senior defender Fabian Suele said. “Last year we unfortunately lost in the semifinal although I think we could have won that game, so we need to make sure that we’re on point this year and try to win it again.”

The opener should be an easy match for the Terriers since the Leopards finished last season 5-8-5 (2-5-1 PL). The two teams last met on September 9 of last year and the Terriers won 1-0 in double overtime.

The Terriers made 31-for-279 (11.1%) goals and 3-for-3 penalty kicks, recording 22 assists. The Leopards made 10-for-161 (6.2%) goals and 0-for-0 penalty kicks, recording seven assists.

The Terriers’ strongest player – midfielder Vincent Bezecourt – graduated last year, in addition to midfielder Cyril Coisne – another former star player. Bezecourt made 7-for-65 (10.1%) goals en route to 17 points and three assists in 2015. Coisne made 3-for-8 goals (37.5%) en route to seven points and one assist.

Junior midfielder Federico Curbelo, senior forward Yussuf Olajide, and junior defender Dominick Falanga – who were all major contributors to the team’s success – will return.

“We’ve got a lot of new players so we got a lot a lot of work to do,” Coach Tom Giovatto said.

Curbelo scored 2-for-19 (10.5 %) goals last season en route to seven points and four assists. Olajide scored 1-for-17 (5.9%) en route to seven points and five assists. Falanga scored 3-for-25 (12 %) goals last season en route to six points.

During his third year on the team, Falanga believes the team has grown and needs to focus on redeeming themselves in the NEC Tournament this season.

“I feel like as a team we’ve grown and just got to keep pushing for that NEC Championship,” Falanga said.

Although midfielder Todd Forrester has graduated, the Leopards still have last season’s strongest players – senior midfielder Ryan Egan and senior midfielder Ben Marks.

Egan scored 2-for-25 (8%) goals last year en route to five points and one assist. Marks scored 1-for-16 (6.2%) goals en route to five points and three assists.

The two teams will match up in Easton, Pennsylvania at 6 pm.