Who: #5 D'Youville (4-8-2, 4-4-1) at #4 Franciscan (11-6, 6-3)
What: AMCC Playoffs - First Round
Where: Steubenville, OH / Franciscan University
When: Saturday, October 27 - 2:00pm
Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's soccer team accomplished their second consecutive AMCC postseason appearance at the end of the regular season but are ready to prove that they are more than just happy to make the playoffs.
D'Youville concluded the regular season with a 4-4-1 conference record and the fifth seed in the AMCC playoffs. The Spartans got off to a strong start in conference play as they went 4-1-1 in the first six games of action. In that span, D'Youville recorded four shutouts and scored 14 goals.
The men have had equal contributions throughout the season, including during their hot start. Goalkeeper Kyle Dick (Churchville, NY/Chruchville-Chili) has been outstanding with four shutouts this season 89 saves, and an .802 save percentage. In front of him, the combined efforts of Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home), AJ Wade (Pendleton, NY/Starpoint), Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga), Matt Davis (Spencerport, NY/Spencerport), and Jake Kowalewski (Attica, NY/Attica) have all been big in the team's defensive success.
Not only has that group provided defense for the Spartans, but several have contributed offensively as well. Kowalewski is tied for first on the team with three assists while Hammer and Numan-Ali have scored a pair of goals each. The team's ability to score out of the back has one of their key strengths in their quest for the playoffs this season.
Despite help from the defense in scoring, the offensive workload has been shouldered by forward Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport). Sherman leads the team with seven goals and 15 points to go with 55 shots. He has been dynamic in conference play with goals in four different games, two of which he has two goals each.
Alf Egge (Stavanger, Norway/Stavanger International) has been a major contributor in the midfield. He is tied for first in assists with three and tied for second in goals with two. His ability to take and deliver powerful yet accurate and well-struck free kicks has been big on set-pieces. Forward Brian Nwaekeke (Corona, CA/John F. Kennedy) has added a pair of goals and an assist to aid the offense.
Freshman Jared Zadzilka (Noth Tonawanda, NY/North Tonawanda) has quietly added a pair of assists and midfielder Marco Ciccarelli (Webster, NY/Webster-Schroeder) has gotten back to full health and is ready to contribute. First-year players Jack Schmittendorf (Hamburg, NY/Frontier), Juan Centeno (Williamsville, NY/Williamsville North), and Aakar Htut (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) with sophomore Jumale Jumale (Buffalo, NY/DaVinci) have all found their roles as the season has progressed, providing to the team's mentality.
As for the Spartan's opponent, the Franciscan Barons capped off their season with four wins in their last three games. The biggest win for the Barons came over the Mount Aloysius Mounties - who were undefeated at the time. Franciscan's lone loss in their last five games came to the regular season conference champion Penn State-Behrend Lions by the final of 2-1.
Last Saturday, the Spartans fell to the Barons 2-0. Franciscan has been solid at both ends of the field with just nine goals allowed in conference play and scored 22 goals for.
The winner of the game will go on to face the second overall seeded Mounties on Wednesday, October 31.