HAMDEN, Conn. - Junior Anthony Zarella (Marshfield, Mass.) netted his first collegiate goal in the 43rd minute, but the Bryant University men's soccer team could not overcome two first-half goals against Quinnipiac University, dropping a 2-1 decision on Friday in Hamden, Conn.
After giving up two goals in a three-minute span, the Bulldogs (1-5-1, 0-1 Northeast Conference) were looking to break through late in the first half, and Zarella gave them that answer, one-timing a through ball from classmate Eddie Curry (Massapequa, N.Y.) to pull the Black and Gold within one, but the Bobcats (3-3, 1-0) played shutdown defense the rest of the way, limiting Bryant to four shots in the second half to keep them out of the back of the net for the remainder of regulation.
The Bobcats came out firing out of the gates, reeling off six straight shots after Bryant fired the first one of the game, but the Bulldogs' defense came up with three blocks during that span. Action then subsided until Quinnipiac got on the board in the 37th minute, as Durval Pereira scored on a right-footed shot off a pass from Ola Ogonjobi to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Pereira found himself involved in another scoring play, as he sent up a volley that sailed over to William Daniels, who blasted it into the upper right corner to double the Bobcats' lead.
After half time, the Bulldogs returned to the pitch looking to pounce early, as senior tri-captain Nicholas Parisi (Holbrook, N.Y.) sent in a corner kick that sailed through traffic a minute into the frame. Freshman Connor Norat (Wilmington, Del.) nearly tied the game up in the 49th minute, but his header shot just missed over the crossbar. The rookie winger finished the game with a team-high two shot attempts, tied with Zarella and junior transfer David Falcones (Massapequa, N.Y.).
Physical play dominated the second half, as both teams combined for 21 fouls in the frame, limiting scoring opportunities for either team. After both teams combined for 20 total shots in the first half – with QU holding a 14-6 edge in that category – the second stanza saw just 12 total shot attempts from both teams. That slower pace worked in Quinnipiac's favor, as they were able to keep Bryant without a shot attempt during the final 15 minutes en route to the victory.
Sophomore goaltender George Spanos (Garden City, N.Y.) finished the match with three saves, while the Bobcats saw a two-save effort from Borja Angoitia.
In total, Quinnipiac led by a slim 5-4 margin in corner kicks, and held a collective 22-10 advantage in shot attempts.
Bryant will continue conference play on Sunday, Oct. 2, as it travels to Long Island University to do battle against the Blackbirds. Game time is set for 1 p.m.