Men’s soccer drops conference opener in final minutes

Brad Sienkiewicz limits Western Illinois to one goal Friday. (Photo: Garrett Haupt )

Andrew Nichols

A defensive struggle between UNF and ETSU ended in the 84th minute with a Buccaneer goal Friday night.

The first half looked promising for the Ospreys (4-3-1) as they possessed the ball well through the field but could not open up the East Tennessee State University (3-3-3) defense.

A shot from Diogo Quirino in the 16th minute looked dangerous, but it narrowly missed the upper right corner.

In the 18th minute, UNF looked dangerous again through good build up play in the attacking third. A final flick on from Sean Young saw Casey Caronis in on goal but the ETSU keeper, Ryan Coulter, came up big and pushed the ball out for a corner.

UNF earned 7 corners, 4 in the first half, to ETSU’s 2 but were unable to make use of them.

The second half was a different story.

UNF couldn’t find each other and ETSU turned up its attacking play.

“I think we lost a little bit of rhythm, had a few injuries and it just kind of slowed the game down,” said head coach Derek Marinatos. “I don’t think we found the same rhythm we had or possession in their half.”

Marinatos added that the team gave up too many fouls, giving away almost three times as many set pieces than the first half.

UNF gave up 11 fouls in the second half, as opposed to 3 in the first.

ETSU was able to break the deadlock in the dying minute of play as a shot came in toward UNF keeper Brad Sienkiewicz.

“Brad had to come up with a big save and was unfortunate to have it bounce off his chest,” said Marinatos. “It popped out and the guy running in followed it and tapped it in.”

A questionable no-call from the ref was warranted as Sienkiewicz found himself between two players both leaping toward him, one heading the ball in over the stretching keeper.

Multiple injuries occurred in the match — many of which drew blood.

Niklas Schuessler came off the pitch with a bloody nose after colliding with another player.

Minutes later, Nate Hodges of ETSU had to come off the field due to blood on his jersey after following through on a header. He said he may have hit Sienkiewicz’s elbow.

A final injury involved Pedro Carneiro hitting heads with an ETSU midfielder. Carneiro did not return however as a medical trainer said stitches were likely needed.

Though injuries may have slowed down the game that UNF were fluently possessing, Sienkiewicz says that is no excuse for the loss.

“Injuries are going to happen and it’s the next man up,” said Sienkiewicz. “Its up to the 11 on the field to perform.”

UNF will travel to Northern Kentucky (4-2-4) in hopes of claiming a conference victory.

“It’s a tough place to play, they have good fans,” said Marinatos. “It’s on field turf, the only game of the season on turf. Have to get used to that and how the ball moves, things like that.”