After heavy rains postponed Tuesday's originally scheduled date, the UMass Dartmouth men’s soccer team begins its quest for the 2019 Little East Conference tournament title on Wednesday evening, as the sixth-seeded Corsairs will square off with third-seeded Rhode Island College in quarterfinal round action of this year’s championships at LaSalle Academy in Providence, R.I. beginning at 6:00 pm EST.
Head Coach Henry Almeida’s squad is making its first league post-season appearance in six years with Tuesday’s match, as UMass Dartmouth posted an overall record of 8-7-2 during the regular season that included a 3-4-1 conference slate. The Corsairs are making their ninth overall trip to the Little East tournament and sixth in Almeida’s 12 seasons at the helm, as UMass Dartmouth advanced to the league title match in 2009, 2012 and 2013 in falling to Eastern Connecticut on all three occasions.
Senior midfielder Junior Monteiro (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) leads UMass Dartmouth in scoring with 12 goals and six assists for 30 points on the year, as he ranks third in the league in goals and fifth in points. Monteiro, who was tabbed as the Little East Co-Offensive Player of the Week back on September 16th, tallied seven times during conference play and netted three game-winning markers overall. Junior midfielder Yorik Sajbin (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) follows with seven goals and three assists for seven points, while sophomore midfielder Rony Morales (Seekonk, Mass./Seekonk) and freshman forward Eric Barry (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) combined for five goals and 13 points in 2019.
Sophomore back Declan Foley (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) anchors the Corsair defensive unit, as he was named as the Little East Defensive Player of the Week on October 14th after UMass Dartmouth presented Almeida with his 100th career victory in a 2-0 triumph at Southern Maine. Sophomore Jake Castro (Swansea, Mass./Bishop Connolly) has been a solid last line of defense for the Corsairs, as he has posted six wins and a tie to go with five shutouts. Castro, who was named as the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III National Player of the Week on September 17th, was ranked as high as second nationally in saves percentage during the year, as he has notched an 0.97 goals against average with 76 saves for an .884 saves percentage.
Rhode Island College posted an overall mark of 9-6-2 under 16th-year Head Coach John Mello this fall, including a 5-2-1 slate in Little East play. That one conference draw came against UMass Dartmouth at Cressy Field back on October 16th, as the Corsairs and Anchormen battled to a scoreless double overtime tie. Sophomore Brandon Ramos leads Rhode Island College in scoring with seven goals and two assists for 16 points, while freshman Thomas Aldana and junior Sa-Leem Kamarah follows with a combined 11 tallies and five helpers for 27 points. Junior Charlie Tashjian has recorded eight wins and two ties in goal for the Anchormen, as he has posted a 1.58 goals against average to go with 87 saves and three clean sheets.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash will mark the first post-season matchup between UMass Dartmouth and Rhode Island College, as the winner advances to the 2019 Little East semifinal round to square off with second-seeded Keene State on Friday, November 8th. Fourth-seeded Western Connecticut will take on top-seeded and 23rd-ranked Eastern Connecticut in Friday’s other semifinal contest. The two semifinal winners will meet for the 2019 Little East tournament crown and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III championship field on Sunday afternoon.
Live stats, video and directions links for Wednesday’s match at Rhode Island College are available at corsairathletics.com.