LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Every successful season usually needs a bit of good fortune in order to accomplish the goals that are set at the beginning of the season. For the Quinnipiac University men's soccer team that good fortune came in the very last game of the regular season, as the Bobcats claimed a share of the MAAC Regular Season Championship with a 1-0 win in overtime at Rider on Saturday night.
Needing a win and a Monmouth loss, Quinnipiac did its part when senior co-captain Simon Hinde (Canberra, Australia) netted the game-winner in the 105th minute to grant the Bobcats three points. Just minutes after that, Canisius College found the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Hawks, 1-0; propelling Quinnipiac into a tie for first place in the standings. It's the second consecutive regular season title for the Bobcats after winning the first one in program history last year.
With the win, Quinnipiac improved to 9-4-5 overall and 7-1-2 in league play. The nine wins are tied for the second most wins in a single-season during the Division I era, and third most all-time. The Bobcats are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games, matching Monmouth for the best stretch of soccer in the league. Over the past two seasons, Quinnipiac is 15-2-4 in games played after Sept. 24, and 14-2-4 against conference opposition.
In the first ever meeting between the two clubs, defense prevailed through regulation and 14 minutes into overtime. However, as he has done so often this season, Simon Hinde found himself in the right place at the right time to slam home a rebound, and give the Bobcats their second consecutive double-overtime victory. On Wednesday, Machel Baker (Spanish Town, Jamaica) scored in double-overtime to lift Quinnipiac over Siena for a crucial set of three points.
The goal would have been meaningless though if not for another outstanding effort behind the ball. The MAAC's top defense posted another clean sheet behind six saves from junior goalkeeper Borja Angoitia (Bilbao, Spain). Quinnipiac leads the league in shutouts (10), goals against average (0.67) and goals allowed (13) this season. The Bobcats entered this week in a tie for fifth place in the nation in shutout percentage and are 16th in goals against average, but will surely move up higher in the rankings on Monday.
Angoitia, who is in contention for MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year honors, added to his list of achievements at Quinnipiac. He currently finds himself within the top two all-time in three career statistical categories at QU. He is second in career shutouts (15), goals against average (1.14) and all-time in wins (23). His nine shutouts this year also ties him with Freddy Hall '09 for the most shutouts in a single-season.
The Bobcats begin its quest for the MAAC Championship next weekend in Fairfield. Despite sharing the MAAC Regular Season Championship, Monmouth will take the top slot in the playoffs next week. No. 2 Quinnipiac will face No. 3 Iona in the semifinals at Lessing Field on Friday, Nov. 15 (7 PM). The finals will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.
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