College Update: Season's Final Week Brings Late Drama
With the regular season finale drawing near, lots of questions still remain about final seeding. Only a handful of matches remain to lock up spots in the conference tournaments, and all across the United States, one can find a story worth following. Whether it be the NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, or any league in between, the final week of the season has been one to watch.
Sheikali, Terriers Look to Lock Up Top Spot in PL
After a shocking 0-5-0 start to the campaign in which the Terriers did not score a goal but conceded thirteen, something had to change before Boston kicked off Patriot League play against American University on September 23rd. Under the leadership of thirty-three year head coach Neil Roberts and senior defender Adam Sheikali, the Terriers turned on the jets and haven't let up since, going 8-2-2 in their next twelve, including 6-1-0 in the Patriot League. During that stretch, fortunes got flipped on their heads as the Terriers only conceded six goals, including six clean sheets, while scoring eighteen of their own without getting shutout once. Sitting at 7-7-2 overall (6-1-0 in Patriot League), Boston are tied atop the conference standings with Loyola Maryland and have already clinched their berth in the conference tournament. With two matches left, if the Terriers can win both and Loyola drop points in at least one of their two remaining games, Boston can clinch the top spot in the conference tournament, a position that seemed almost impossible early in the season.
Dalton State Look to Close Historic Season on a High Note
All season long, Dalton State College have been one of the best teams in the NAIA. Ranked #19 in the country through fifteen matches, the Roadrunners have been running on ten since day one. One of the highest scoring teams in the SSAC, the Roadrunners have racked up fifty-four goals while conceding only twenty-five, led by sophomore Santiago Moore with fifteen goals and fourteen assists. Following their great success, Dalton State have officially locked up third place in the SSAC thanks to an active five-match unbeaten streak in which Moore, alone, has scored seven of the Roadrunners' seventeen goals. Overshadowed in all of Moore's success is junior midfielder Daniel Valenciano who has accumulated three goals on the year to go with eight assists, as well playing part in the Roadrunners' defensive strength. Coming off a conference finals appearance last season, Dalton have one more tune-up match against Faulkner on October 28th before kicking off the SSAC Quarterfinals on November 4th.
Robinson, Royals Stare Down Late Drama
After an up and down season in which the Royals finished 7-5-4 (3-4-3 in South Atlantic Conference), nothing seems to have escaped Queens, but one constant has been junior forward Edmundo Robinson. In his sixteen matches, Robinson racked up a team-leading eleven goals to go with two assists. Robinson recorded three multi-goal games on the year, as well as two game-winners late in the season against Newberry on October 14th and Anderson on October 18th. Heading into the final match day of the season against #17 Lander on October 25th, the Royals found themselves in desperate need of a win, and after Robinson put the Royals up two just after halftime, the Bearcats equalized before the final whistle to send the game to overtime, where Juan Carlos Carrillo scored the golden goal to give the Royals the upset victory. Thanks to the victory, Queens jumped to fifth in the SAC, and are the first to conclude their regular season, however each of the other ten schools have one match remaining, and three of the teams beneath Queens have a chance to leapfrog them in the standings with a win, but that is no small task, as each of them play teams in the top four of the conference.
Image Courtesy: Boston University, Dalton State College, Queens University of Charlotte