After earning its fourth straight post-season berth following a second place finish in the league standings, the Massachusetts Maritime men’s soccer team begins its quest for the 2016 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference championship on Friday, November 4th when Head Coach Greg Perry’s Buccaneers host a conference semifinal round match at Clean Harbors Stadium that begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Massachusetts Maritime earned the second seed in this year’s tournament and will take on the winner of Tuesday afternoon’s quarterfinal round clash between third-seeded Framingham State and sixth-seeded Fitchburg State that will be played at Maple Street Field in Framingham, Mass. beginning at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Tuesday’s other MASCAC quarterfinal will see fourth-seeded MCLA host fifth-seeded Bridgewater State at Shewcraft Field in North Adams, Mass. at 6:00 p.m. EDT, as the winner of that contest advances to square off with top-seeded Worcester State in the other league semifinal contest on Friday afternoon beginning at 4:00 p.m. EDT at Coughlin Field in Worcester, Mass. The two semifinal winners will meet for the 2016 MASCAC crown on Sunday, November 6th at the site of the highest remaining seed with a berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championships at stake.
Perry’s Buccaneers completed their regular season slate at 7-8-2 overall, including a 4-1-2 mark in MASCAC play that was good for 14 points in the final standings. Perry, who ranks as the dean of conference coaches in his 24th season at the helm, once again prepared his squad for the rigors of league action with a tough non-conference schedule that saw opponents post an overall mark of 81-61-22 for a .561 winning percentage.
Sophomore Brendan Gawron (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) leads the Massachusetts Maritime scoring parade with seven goals for 14 points, while fellow sophomore William Taylor (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) follows with four goals and three assists for 11 points as part of a balanced attack. Senior tri-captain Thomas McCarthy (Tybee Island, Ga./Benedictine Military) is next on the list with three tallies and a pair of helpers for eight points, while two-time all-MASCAC junior back Mick Rouette (Three Rivers, Mass./Monson) and freshman Adam Crawford (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake) have each netted seven points with a combined five goals and four assists to date. A total of 14 Buccaneers have notched at least one point during the fall, as Perry received goals from 11 different players during the regular season.
Rouette combines with senior tri-captain and two-time all-MASCAC performer Matthew McDonough (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) and senior tri-captain Scott Matoian (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) to comprise the stingiest defensive unit in the conference, as Massachusetts Maritime allowed only five goals in conference play and has recorded three shutouts overall on the season. Junior Mike Pruchnik (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester) has emerged as a solid last line of defense for the Buccaneers, as he has notched six wins and 84 saves in over 1,284 minutes played to date with a 1.47 goals against average to go with a pair of solo clean sheets. Pruchnik and Taylor have each earned MASCAC Player of the Week accolades during the course of the 2016 campaign, while Crawford and freshman Andrew Wayrynen (Rockport, Mass./Rockport) have been tabbed as the conference’s Rookie of the Week.
Massachusetts Maritime defeated both of its potential semifinal opponents during regular season action, as the Buccaneers notched a 2-0 victory at Framingham State just a week ago and collected a 2-1 triumph over Fitchburg State back on October 7th at Clean Harbors Stadium, with the lone Falcon tally coming on an own goal. Framingham State finished 8-10 overall and 4-3 in league play under veteran Head Coach Dean Nichols, as sophomore Ken Stahovish netted six goals and six assists for 18 points for the Rams, who also received seven wins and 68 saves in goal from junior Josh Arno. After starting MASCAC play at 0-4, Fitchburg State won its final three conference clashes and received some help from Massachusetts Maritime’s 1-1 tie at Westfield State yesterday afternoon to punch its ticket to the MASCAC post-season festivities. Head Coach Werner Thissen’s Falcons, who won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA championships two years ago, posted a 5-11-1 regular season slate and are led in scoring by freshman Matthew Krikorian’s nine goals and 19 points. Junior goalie Alex Al-Zaibak has recorded three wins and 64 saves to pace Fitchburg State in net.
Like the Falcons, Worcester State began its conference schedule winless at 0-2, but Head Coach Jason Willis’s Lancers put everything together in October and finished 10-6 overall and 5-2 in MASCAC action. Sophomore Bryan Brasil leads Worcester State in scoring with 10 goals and two assists for 22 points, while junior keeper Jason Barrett has notched seven wins and 47 saves on the season. MCLA and Bridgewater State finished with identical 3-3-1 league slates, but Head Coach Adam Hildabrand’s Trailblazers gained home field advantage for Tuesday’s quarterfinal contest with a 1-0 triumph over Head Coach Brendan Adams’s Bears back on September 17th in Bridgewater. Senior Anthony Basile leads MCLA (which finished 8-7-1 overall) in scoring with 10 goals and 22 points while junior Kamron Anderson has recorded eight wins, 85 saves and four shutouts in the Trailblazer cage. Defending MASCAC tournament champion Bridgewater State, which finished 7-8-2 overall, is led in scoring by sophomore Filipe Gomes’s seven tallies and 16 points, while senior Colin Jepson has posted four wins, 38 saves and a 1.07 goals against average for the Bears.
Friday’s match will mark Massachusetts Maritime’s third appearance in the conference semifinals in four seasons and the program’s fourth overall trip to the MASCAC “final four”. After posting a 1-0 quarterfinal round triumph over Salem State in 2013, the Buccaneers dropped a 2-0 semifinal decision at Worcester State, and two years ago Fitchburg State came away from the Cape with a 1-0 win in the 2014 semifinals. Last season, Bridgewater State used a goal late in the second overtime period to notch a 3-2 quarterfinal round victory over Massachusetts Maritime, which also dropped a 2-0 semifinal round decision to the Bears back in 2004.
Live stats and video links for Friday’s semifinal contest are available at www.mmabucs.com. For more information on the 2016 MASCAC Men’s Soccer Championships, please visit www.mascac.com.
2016 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Championships
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST – QUARTERFINALS
Match #1: #6 Fitchburg State (5-11-1, 3-4) at #3 Framingham State (8-10, 4-3) 4:00 pm
Match #2: #5 Bridgewater State (7-8-2, 3-3-1) at #4 MCLA (8-7-1, 3-3-1) 6:00 pm
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH – SEMIFINALS
Match #3: MCLA/Bridgewater State winner at #1 Worcester State (10-6, 5-2) 4:00 pm
Match #4: Framingham/Fitchburg winner at #2 Mass. Maritime (7-8-2, 4-1-2) 7:00 pm
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH – CHAMPIONSHIP (AT HIGHEST REMAINING SEED)
Match #5: Semifinal Winners TBA