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Senior Day celebration to precede Niagara men’s soccer home finale


casey msoc
Game 17
Iona Gaels at Niagara Purple Eagles
Saturday, Oct. 27 – 1:00 p.m.
Niagara Field – Niagara Univ., NY
Live Video | Live Stats

While the Niagara men's soccer team looking ahead to its final home game of the 2018 season, it is also looking back to celebrate the careers of its six outgoing seniors – Drew Francisco, Matt LopoydaBautista PedezertMbongeni TshumaSteve Casey and Hector Solorio Villalpando. A pregame ceremony will be held to honor the departing players before kickoff against Iona.

Niagara Notes

  • Last time out, the Purple Eagles were beaten by Quinnipiac, 3-0, on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The loss officially eliminated Niagara from contending for the MAAC postseason tournament.
  • Francisco has played in 16 games for Niagara over the past three seasons, including 10 appearances so far in 2018. He initially joined the team as a walk-on in the spring of 2016 and found his way to the roster after trying out again before the fall season.
  • Lopoyda has spent the past two seasons at Niagara. In his first year, he appeared in 15 games for the Purple Eagles, totaling five shots and earning five starts. This season, he has played in 13 matches, starting in every one.
  • Pedezert made an immediate impact in his freshman season, when he made 16 starts and finished with six points, third-most on the team. Since then, he has racked up seven goals and five assists in 62 career games, with a three-point effort against Monmouth on October 6 among his collegiate highlights.
  • Tshuma finished his first year on the team second overall in scoring with five points (2 G, 1 A). 2018 has been a breakout season for the forward, setting a career-best with four goals and nine points. In 40 games at Niagara, he has collected 14 total points. Tshuma is currently tied with Luca Pacheco for the team lead with four goals this season.
  • Casey is in his fifth year at Niagara. With 56 games played, he has earned 10 wins and made 236 saves as a Purple Eagle. He is third all-time in program history with over 4836 minutes played, is third all-time with nine career shutouts, and is tied for second with 54 career starts.
  • Solorio Villalpando has appeared in 60 games over the past four seasons. After playing in 19 as a freshman, he earned his first career point with an assist in the team's season opener during his sophomore year. This season, he has played in eight contests, recording another assist in the game against Rider.
Across The Pitch: Iona Gaels (9-5-2, 5-3-1 MAAC)

  • The Gaels come in riding a four-game win streak. After defeating Siena, 5-0, on October 20, they took their fourth straight victory in overtime, 2-1, over Monmouth on Wednesday.
  • Iona is right in the middle of the MAAC playoff picture, sitting tied with Saint Peter's for fourth place. A win would ensure a spot in the tournament, while any other result would necessitate help elsewhere in the conference in order to clinch.
  • Killian Colombie ranks third in the MAAC for goals scored (7) and points (16). The senior forward has appeared in 13 of the team's 16 games this year.
  • Last season, the Gaels notched a 3-0 victory over Niagara in New Rochelle, New York. The contest was the 30th all-time meeting between the two schools and gave Iona a narrow 15-14-1 advantage in head-to-head showdowns.

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