Lions rout Mustangs, look towards playoffs

On Oct. 18, the men’s soccer team rolled out the welcome mat to the tune of a 7-1 thrashing, as the Lions continued their march toward the postseason.,Next year, the Mount Ida Mustangs will be joining Emerson in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. If this is what Mount Ida has to look forward to, they might want to reconsider.

On Oct. 18, the men’s soccer team rolled out the welcome mat to the tune of a 7-1 thrashing, as the Lions continued their march toward the postseason. With the win, Emerson improved to 11-4-1 on the season, having won eight out of 10 matches since an early season loss to UMass-Boston that left the team flirting with a .500 record. The recent stretch has included four shutouts and three games in which they scored five or more goals. It appears the Lions are peaking at the right time.

“It was great,” said Head Coach Jared Scarpaci of the win. “I’m really pleased for the team. We’ve been very consistent and have been able to avoid the peaks and valleys. You know, there have been some small in-game adjustments, but overall, we’ve been very consistent.”

Early on against the Mustangs, it looked as though Emerson might be in for a difficult evening. Despite being able to exploit their superior speed on the outside for numerous scoring chances, Emerson failed to cash in. And though the Mustangs were back on their heels for much of the early part of the first half, they showed no inclination of backing down.

However, with 32 minutes left in the half, the Lions finally broke through.

Sophomore defenseman Steve Francis lofted a free kick from outside the penalty box toward the goal that somehow found its way to the back of the net when the Mount Ida keeper failed to clear the ball on a leaping punch attempt. It was exactly the type of break the Lions needed to get them going.

Three minutes later, senior co-captain Cody Schram scored the first of his two goals when he raced toward a floating Mount Ida header that failed to clear the zone and fired a rocket from the top of the box that beat the diving keeper to the upperright-hand corner.

Scarpaci said the win just illustrated how good the Lions really are this season.

“That was a good team we played out there,” said Scarpaci. “They’re a formidable opponent. Before this game, they hadn’t given up more than two goals to anyone this year. They’re a really good team.”

With about 15 minutes left in the first half, however, junior midfielder Ryan Poliseno changed that when he took a feed from forward Amadeus Junqueira and beat the sliding keeper to the left side for a 3-0 Lions lead.

Schram’s second goal, another bullet up top with more than 10 minutes left, closed out the first half and gave the Lions a commanding 4-0 lead.

The Mustangs came out in the second half with renewed intensity and it paid off early. Just eight minutes into the half, midfielder Taiki Otsuka booted a free kick from well outside the penalty box over a crowd of players in front of the net and beautifully into the upper right-hand corner.

However, any chance of a comeback was quashed five minutes later when Junqueira broke in alone on a great feed from Schram and easily beat the keeper to the right side for a 5-1 lead. Poliseno added his second goal and Greg Epstein tacked one on to finish off the scoring for the night as, once again, coach Scarpaci received nice production from his bench.

“Our subs got in there and they scored,” said Scarpaci. “That’s the sign of a growing team.”